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The power of photography

Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
edited August 2017 in Healthy living
As we are talking about hobbies and leisure at the moment, I thought I would look at photography.  From snapping away with your phone to professional photography, images and how we share them can be incredibly powerful.

The Disabled Photography Society
is a group set up and run by disabled photographers for disabled photographers. Their aim is to support disabled photographers to enjoy photography and to promote photography as individuals or as members of a disability group and for care workers and those with an interest in helping disabled people. They give free technical support, free advice, help with modifications and free equipment loans, acting as a source of information on all aspects of photography.

Membership is available to people in the UK and starts from just £10 per year for an individual, £15 if you just want to support the society or £25 if you are running a group for disabled people.

One photographer who I heard about a couple of years ago is Oliver Hellowell. Oliver started taking photos at around 11 yrs of age and is a young nature and wildlife photographer who happens to have Down’s syndrome. His work has been widely appreciated.  Oliver’s love of all kinds of wildlife and the great outdoors was nourished by his mother and family whilst his skills as a photographer were born out of his initial desire to take pictures like his stepfather Mike O’Carroll. His ‘eye’ for a picture however is an innate ability clearly all his own.   We celebrated him in our 30 under 30 campaign last year and interviewed him here.

Oliver Hellowell man with down syndrome photographer camera

The way we use images has changed so much and with most phones having fantastic cameras on them these days, we seem to be taking and sharing so many more.  My husband is a photographer and I also write a blog about my illness, I use photographs a lot to raise awareness and break taboos. I have a permanent ostomy bag and have had lots of surgeries over the past few years, an ostomy bag is often seen as something embarrassing or dirty and so I got my husband to take images of me with my bag on show.  People tell me that seeing my images helps to start conversations and stops people like me from feeling quite s isolated and so I think photographs can be really powerful.

woman stood in countryside showing ostomy bag

Do you enjoy photography? Would you like to learn more? What is your favourite photo you have ever taken, or had taken of you? Have you used any adaptations to photography equipment? Do you think images of disabled people can help raise awareness?

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