Art & Photography13th October 2013

Deaf Photographers

An article discussing the merits of photography and the action of one tutor to make his business deaf friendly

by Kate Evans

by Kate Evans

Photography is a popular hobby for many people in the UK and it is no different for Deaf people. While most of us enjoy taking family photos, or holiday snaps, some people wish they could capture what their eyes see, and are invariably disappointed when the photo they see didn't match their vision.

Access to photography tuition for Deaf people is fraught with difficulties. Some Deaf photographers have been to college, only to give up after a few weeks for the following reasons:

- The quality of communication support workers was too poor to allow the Deaf person to engage.

- The teaching style, with the tutor giving a lecture at the front with limited ‘hands on’ opportunities.

As an example, commenting on her experience in college, Hannah Waters said, “Unfortunately, as a deaf person I found it very, very hard to grasp what was being taught in the photography BTEC Level 2 course. The lecturer was not deaf sensitive and the support worker was not able to sign what was being taught. It was very hard. I did not really learn much.”

by Kate Evans

Kate Evans, Deaf Photographer, has been meeting Mark Cleghorn from phototraining4u to discuss Deaf people gaining access to his workshops. He is committed to ensuring that everyone has the same access and that’s the same for Deaf people. 

There are subtitles on Mark’s training video tutorials on where it tells you how to use software such as Lightroom and Photoshop, how to use lights, portraits, weddings, events, landscape, and equipment. There are also videos from other photographers as well.

There have been two workshops in 2012 with RSLI interpreters present and they were successful. Attendees have said the following...

Hannah Waters, “The workshops were totally different ! Mark Cleghorn was deaf aware, was able to support me. He was able to understand a deaf person's view and communicate and interpreter at my level! I really enjoyed this and learned so much.”

Two attendees, Paul Pycroft and Elwyn Jones, remarked that they learned far more in one day with Mark Cleghorn than they ever learned in college.

After the first workshop, Mark and his phototraining4u team, have been attending BSL classes and have passed level 1.  Attendees noticed the difference in the second workshop and were able to communicate more.

Kate is planning to set up photography workshops for Deaf people in Wales. The In future, she hope to expand to the rest of  the UK, to teach people how to use a camera, how to take photos, angles, using different medium such as the iphone, and smart-phones, to capture a good picture.

This is where you can learn basic photography before attending workshops like Mark Cleghorn’s.

by Kate Evans

Kate wants to ensure that everyone who has a passion for photography are able to maintain that and are helped in understanding what photography is all about.

The Deaf photographers have now set up a club which welcomes any Deaf or Hard of Hearing person and any non-deaf person who is proficient in BSL and has an interest in photography. All that is required is a camera. It could be the camera on your phone, a small compact camera or a digital SLR.  The only thing needed is enthusiasm for photography. If you are interested in finding out where and when the next one is, please contact Kate Evans.

One thing that is common amongst all the photographers, is the amazing feeling you get when you see what picture you want, control the camera settings, and capture what you wanted to achieve. While the principles of photography are simple, learning how to use those principles requires a lot of hard work and practice.

Whatever you do with the photography, the most important point to remember is photography is a form of capturing memories. It doesn't have to be a good photo, but the photo itself is a memory that is precious to the person that took it, whether it is of a location on holidays or a picture of a loved one. The bottom line is, photography is about capturing memories that you can treasure for years to come.

Article by Kate Evans

posted in Entertainment / Art & Photography

13th October 2013