Sober Exposure is a photography exhibition by Tamsyn Warde exploring sober living through the stories of 12 real people.

The University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT

Autumn 2022


I am a photographer with a keen interest in people and real life experiences. I created Sober Exposure as a result of my difficult relationship with alcohol.

The exhibition explores sober living through the photographic portraits and stories of 12 people. The people in this exhibition speak with bravery and honesty about their mental health, physical health, relationships, addiction and spirituality.

It’s main aim is to provide sober role models for university aged people, to challenge the idea that life without alcohol is boring and to encourage the audience to reflect on their own relationship with alcohol. I am hoping that it opens the door to honest discussions about alcohol and mental health within the university.


I began drinking and smoking weed when I was 11 years old. By the time I was 15, I was drinking and smoking drugs regularly and it began to take over my life. I'd often go missing for long periods and my mother wouldn't know if I was dead or alive. After I stopped drinking and taking drugs my life improved considerably. I now have a job, go to college and am in a stable and happy relationship.


I was born with a heart condition. I spent a fair amount of my childhood in and out of hospital. As I approached adolescence I decided to do all I could to look after my physical health, that included not drinking. I stayed a non-drinker throughout my entire university career, and whilst my student memories are filled with stories of tequila filled nights, I can tell you about the semester I spent abroad and the lifelong friends I made.


My aunt died when I was 11 years old of an alcohol-related illness. Having seen the devastation caused by alcohol within my own family, I've made the decision not to drink. I sometimes find it hard to fit in whilst socialising with friends but I'm determined to live my life this way.

More information

Sober Exposure is on tour. Having previously been exhibited at the universities of Winchester and Chester, it will be launching at The University of Birmingham in Autumn 2022.

The University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Should you be interested in hosting the exhibition please get in touch.

You can see more of Tamsyn's work at