Monday, 15 January 2018

Major Project

Having received the grades for my recent exams it’s time to focus on the MP.

Just last week I began to think about the next step on my project which looks at my life as a profoundly Deaf artist.  I woke up one morning and had an idea which I thought was very relevant for the next step in telling my story. It involves shadows and reflections to illustrate things are not as they seem in many ways.

It was most interesting as I received the grade for re-think my tutor encouraged me to look at another artist which was most encouraging, as I looked at this work that I’d never seen before it just made me excited as yes it’s totally what I was thinking for my story.  See the link below for the artists website it’s fantastic and inspirational as well.  Not everyone will understand but I do I see things that speak without words the images tell me a story of someone lost and longing for home.

Please take a look at Laura’s work.

Time to move on and continue as Paul encouraged me to continue with this project on The Middle Land....

The story continues


Re-think unit

For the 're-think' unit I'm continuing with the 'middle land' a story which takes the viewer into not only my life as a profoundly deaf artist but simply I ask you to wear my shoes and see life from my perspective.

To live, walk and breathe my every day as a person to see what it's like first hand as a person who doesn't always catch what people are saying a person who can't always follow or do certain tasks.

Just this afternoon something caught my eye as I was looking at the British Journal of Photographers it was more a phrase which was mentioned in the article that moved me so much that I have to write about it as I feel it relates to what I'm doing for my 're-think'.

"Think about what you want to say, think about what you care about and then photograph that".
                                                                                                                             Abbie Trayler-Smith

Well to be honest I have rather a lot to say about my chosen documentary for re-think because I do care about it as it's my life the only life I've lived so far and yes I want to photograph it and to share my story with others so that you can try to understand people like myself.  As I feel when someone hears that I have a hearing impairment then first two things they do is exaggerate their lip movements and shout.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Collaborative Project moving on...

Having now been up at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and chatted with Dr Richard Locke.  Many things are going through my head as I think back to that first visit and mainly thinking about the things we talked about that day.

It was like we crammed in as much as we could in that one hour we had to chat.

Thinking back there are some things I would like to share from that day that I feel are important.
Having already shared about the cochlear implant I'll move away from that on this post and look at the other areas.

Dr Locke mentioned about the value of sound / appreciation of sound it was a beautiful way to put that in the sense of what he meant.  He shared with me that when a patient goes through a hearing test or a test for the implant its all to do with how we hear the noises being put to us through another source.  He mentioned that yes as a consultant he knows that the patient heard the noise / sound being played to them but to what extent did the patient hear that he will never fully know.

In other words whenever someone gets a hearing test only that person knows how loud or quiet it was and they have no way of letting the audiologist know just how it was received other than yes it was heard.  I sensed that if the consultants did know the extent of how the noise / sounds were received then maybe they could provide better hearing aids or implants for the patient in that way.

I had the feeling as Dr Locke spoke that this is one area he would like to have control over to really understand just how the noise was received.  And to myself that is amazing I think yes maybe this is the way forward like the next best thing that is still yet to be...

Since my last visit I've been brain storming as to how I will wrap this project up and I have only ideas at this stage but I"m excited and wish I could run full flow but that's not how it goes as I realise I have to walk at the pace, availability that Dr Locke has and not what I have.  I'd love to do something to help others perhaps they have just been diagnosed as hearing impaired as it is a live changing event something you never prepare for, I'd love to produce something that can help the patient be at ease maybe a pamphlet to reassure them of those changes and what will happen / what to expect.  I'm just dreaming at the moment.

Dr Locke wanted me to attend a one day conference at the Hospital but due to red-tape its not happening the conference is all about cochlear implants it sounded absolutely fantastic but it's not to be on this occasion it's all to do with copyright as to the photographs I would take and so on.
My tutors advised me in different ways about the above as they heard in my voice that I had longed to be able to attend that conference.  Lewis was happy to help with maybe writing something to them to reassure them that the photos would not be shown outside of university.  However we are unable to change anything but to accept it's not going to happen.

This coming Wednesday and Thursday I will be at the hospital on both days meeting with Dr Locke and another consultant who works in noise.  I hope all will go well and that I'll be able to gather as much information as I can.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Collaberative Project

It seems the winds of change is now upon us as the new University year has now begun once again, it also alerts me of the urgency to get on with my projects.  To move on into the new areas of not only my life but of studying once again.

This past summer has been one of the toughest summers I've had in a long time with the passing of my Daddy in May it has been a hard and I've struggled with the grief that followed this sadness and loss as I miss him dearly we were very close.  Yet he remains in my heart forever I will never forget this man who was my role model as he taught me many great things in life.  He kindness was unspeakable he would have given his last penny to someone in need, simply I only have lovely memories of my daddy and these I will hold onto for the rest of my life.

Memories are beautiful things we can look back on or hold onto as they help us not only cope but to face the road ahead of us, even today I had a wobble thinking of him as I will venture home next Wednesday for my collaborative project.   As I plan to visit my brother and mum and this will be my first visit since my dad passed away.  I realise people change and move on I'm not really sure how I will move on with the times as one can't plan for something so suddenly, I can only do my best.

For my collaborative project I will be working closely with a ENT consultant who works at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.  He is a young consultant who is very entousiastic about ear surgery. As I met him last week we talked about many different things relating to hearing issues and deafness it was most immersing as I was just amazed to hear how passionate he actually is about such issues.

He shared about cochlear implants and the difference they can make to a hearing impaired persons life and how it can change not only the quality of their life style but how they can hear the normal things that hearing aids don't provide.  Hearing aids only amplify loud noises where as the implants help and work within the damaged ear and sends signals to the brain.  Its interesting to listen to Dr Richard Locke share about those implants and why profoundly deaf people need them more than hearing aids.

I'm looking forward to working alongside Dr Richard Locke and seeing how this project unfolds it might not go how I envisage it to as I can imagine it will take on the forms of many different twists and turns which I might not expect at all.

The reasons for this project and why I'm doing it is because I want to see from a medical point of view the other side of the spectrum to see what goes on and how they diagnose someone as hearing impaired and the necessary steps to helping and providing them with what is best to help them.

I know I walked this route myself but I was only 6 years old and I have vivid collections of that journey.  I feel its a great area to document for my Masters and to tell it how it is in black and white no hidden things, to tell the story in its true form.  Maybe to help others see what is actually going on and to maybe make things clearer to them when faced with a hearing impairment.

I'm not sure where this will take me but I feel it's worth documenting.


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Still waiting......

Time is passing quickly and it seems like nothing is happening.  My tutor Lewis has encouraged me to look at a few things or areas where I can explore.  Its hard going this collabaraton dare I say in someways it's sort of holding me back from pressing on.

The whole month of June and most of July have been put on hold as on the 30th May my dear Daddy passed away suddenly and it left me broken and unable to do anything for those few months.  I lost all focus and had to just be and walk the road a grief.

So here I am again once trying to catch up on my University studying plus getting my blog unto date as well.  Time seems to fly when life changing events take place in ones life.  Its just hard to pick oneself up again and continue, not as it was before but to move on as my daddy would want me to.

For the past few months although it seems like I wasn't doing much but I was slowly doing things in the background.  One was the twenty minutes eye shut time with Peter Fraser.  I found while doing that exercise it somewhat brought me in one way a relief from what I was facing in my life, sometimes when I did the twenty minutes I couldn't make sense of what and why I was photographing what I did.  It was surreal in one sense to be honest and only a few days later as I looked back on those photos did I come to realise and see something beautiful in the darkness around me. Below are a few of the photos I took on that road of grief and the unknown.

The other thing was for my collaboration project I have a keen interest in sound waves and how that travels its so fascinating to be able to capture such a thing would be just mind blowing for myself as to someone like myself who is profoundly deaf 'sound' is survival it's everything.  Every noise you hear each day can carry alarm bells and alert you of different things going on that need your attention so in a way it is survival in this world which we all live in...for someone like myself it's harder to define different noises so in one way I'm curious so to how the different sounds travel.

I have a friend from my youth days and he is now a retired surgeon in Glasgow I kindly asked David if he knew someone in the medical profession who could help me with the collaborative project so I can work alongside someone who works with sound and with people who have lost their hearing.
Mainly a ENT Consultant I was looking for someone who is enthusiastic about this kind of work so we can both learn from each other as I undertake such a task.
However two long months passed and I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen as I had no response it didn't mean David wasn't trying as i know its hard to get your foot in the door.

One day I was thinking oh I need to get a plan B in place as I'm not sure what is going on and I was beginning to get worried about the project as I wanted to do something totally different and to be adventurous as well.  Time was passing quickly.  That very same day my phone beeped it was a email notification from David and yes he put me in contact with a ENT Consultant in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

So that very same evening I wrote my first email to Richard Lockie explaining my project and ideas with the hope that he would want to work with me.

Continuing on... 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Moving on....

Since my last post many things have happened and I'm happy to say I was able to submit my exam essay and my photographic exam paper in time for the deadline at LCC.

I waited on the results not knowing what I would receive as it was such a difficult time due to seeing my friend pass away so soon.

One morning I awoke and picked up my iPad and just clicked on my emails and saw a email from the university and instantly I opened it, there was a link enclosed which you had to click on which took you to another page within the University network, I couldn't log in quick enough and when I did I was somewhat amazed and deeply encouraged with a B+ for my photographic exam and a C+ for my essay.  I was happy and content as a few weeks prior I though I'd not be submitting as everything was too much so this is quite amazing considering.

The following week I had a one-to-one with Paul Lowe as to my practical exam the photographic one and he praised my work he loved it and said he'd never seen a story like this before he said he was deeply moved and wanted to see it develop into a bigger body of work.

So I am continuing with this project.  We had a months break from studying and then back to work.
We are now working on a collab project which is basically working alongside someone else and doing a documentary on the subject matter.  Also we are doing another project called 're-think' in which I'm carrying over my "Middle Land" project.

Since starting back on these projects the 're-think' one has been okay but slow moving but the collab one has been difficult.  Very time consuming and at times I feel like it's not going anywhere.  Quite simply I would love to capture sound waves as a deaf person how does sound travel etc and many things that go with how one actually hears.  To make the invisible, visible is something I'd love to explore deeper and to capture sound in motion.  That is my goal so I"m seeking out a Doctor in Physics to do with sound and I"m not sure if that will happen.  I've been in contact with a friend who is a retired surgeon from Glasgow and he's trying to get me access to work alongside someone in that area of research.

I am still waiting.

Moving on into 'The Middle Land'.

It seemed January and February were a blur for myself as not only did I hear my friends cancer had returned but that she actually passed away in February it was a very difficult time for myself and her closest friends along with her family too.

I tried to focus on my work for college but couldn't find the strength to do so.  Everything went quiet my camera sat in its bag untouched for a few weeks it was hard I even began to wonder if I would complete the exams.  It just felt like everything was slipping from my hands.  Until I chatted with two friends who gently encouraged me to finish the exams for Julie and to make her proud of me as she would want me to finish the exams and get the degree.  Although this is only my first year so still have a long way to go yet.

So I began to pick my camera up and my pen too for the essay, time was running past quickly and I had about 3 weeks to submission time.  I had to focus quickly on everything and work my time out as to how I was going to complete the tasks.

I began to dream again of how to tell this story of my life. A place where I live every day.  Many things came to mind as I thought through the course of my life it was exciting to think that I could actually do a self documentary and to tell my story.

I know it's not going to be an easy task but it's exciting to think well if I can make a difference in someones life then it would all be worthwhile.  To tell my story will carry all sorts of feelings and emotions.

I began shooting again with the guidance from my tutor Leonine she was so honest when she saw my work.  It started off with research and that was a big hurdle as I sat for hours looking on the Internet for other people who maybe did a similar project but I hit a brick wall every time.  I contacted The Royal National Institute for the Deaf but nothing from them on that area only leaflets to help people with the disability.  So in the end I realised My story is  my own testimony as I am profoundly deaf.
So I started the project again in which I looked into my own life as a deaf visual artist.

As the days began to slowly pass I kept picking up my camera to capture and to tell my own story as best as I could as a photographer.  The feedback that I received from Leonie during the fortnightly tutorials were very helpful she simply connected with what I was trying to do and she took a deep interest in this work.

A story that I never thought I'd tell,  a story of self in the world in which I lived in since I was a little girl aged 6 years old till now and ongoing.  A story of living in my world not in the hearing world and not in the deaf world but in the middle which I now call the 'Middle Land'.

Welcome to my world I hope you will enjoy the journey seeing things how I see them as an artist who relies on the visual in the everyday things.

Journeying on.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

'The Middle Land'

After receiving the go ahead from my tutor for the practical project I simply couldn't wait to get started.  I made contact with people and it seemed to be going in the right direction and things were falling into place as well.  It seemed exciting and daunting too.  An unknown territory to many as I think back to those early days with the project dreaming of possibilities as well.

I made arrangements to meet with someone to begin my project to start to tell this story that had been fresh on my mind and the endless ideas of how I wanted to take the photographs, simply how I wanted to tell the story.

It was Monday morning my camera was charged up and I was ready.

My practical project was to be a story of my life as a profoundly deaf person but I wanted to tell my story through someone else.  I never dared to do it on self no, it had to be someone else.
I began to photograph Rich at his workplace but something was nagging at me that day I felt that I wasn't really getting those images that I dreamt of, how I had it all planned somehow I thought I'm just not sure.  Then I pushed it aside thinking give it time, it's only the first shoot.

Below are some of the photos I took that day while he was at work he is a skilled wood carver and he does signs made to order.  Quite a skilled job, he is making signage for a garden.

Having spent that morning with Rich it was inspiring to see what he actually does for a day job, he is a normal person like everyone else yet needs to work and that's what he does.  He is also involved in a  local deaf drama group which works closely with The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster.  They had a play recently I was unable to attend due to family matters.  I do believe it was very successful.

A few days after taking these photos well I took lots but will only show these two as they seem fitting for sharing what I'm talking about.  A few days later it was time for our fortnightly tutorial with Leonie who looks at our work and gives us a critic which I find very helpful indeed.

I shared with Leonie my vision and what I wanted to do plus the photos that I had taken of Rich she looked through them and she heard me say it was a project of my story but I didn't want to do it on self so chose someone else.  Leonie gently asked why don't you turn it around to self?  Don't feel ashamed or intimidated you should think of doing it on self as you talk about your story...  I did share with Leonie at that time I wasn't sure that I was going to get what I wanted as Rich and myself are two different people so its really different stories.  I just wanted to tell my story but wasn't sure of doing it on myself as I'm a private person.

So I left that tutorial thinking about what was discussed and wanted to think through things more clearly.  

As I began to think about it really in my mind yes it seemed right to turn it around to self and just tell my story as it is and to invite people into my world.

A few days later my world came crashing down unexpectedly.   My best friend was simply told that her cancer had returned and it was terminal.  All these thoughts and emotions ran through me to think her  life was slipping away before my eyes it was unbearable to think like that yet it was reality and it was happening.  I couldn't face anything I was just struggling to come to terms with what I just heard and to know how frightened she was at that time it made shivers run down my spine.  I was broken and it was tough to cope with.


Practical Project for my MA in Photojournalism and Documentary

These past few months have been a busy yet testing time for myself with circumstances beyond my control it has been heartbreaking at times.  During those difficult moments I was always thinking about my university projects which I had to literally push myself to get them finished on time for the submission date.

I want to walk back and fill you all in with what's been going and up till now....I hope this will not be a long boring blog so I'll break it down into stages.

Let's go back to my last blog was quite some time ago I know....

The last post was on 'Portraits' which was the last assignment we did on the run up to Christmas.
When we returned after Christmas and New Year it was time to put our heads down and do more serious studying plus work on a practical assignment too.  So we had to do an essay plus the practical one which were handed in on March.

For my practical one it was hard to come up with something that was different and challenging too.  I found that I actually did something I'd never dreamed of doing but after much thought over my subject matter, I don't know why but it seemed right to approach what I was deeply thinking about at the time.  So I emailed my tutor my thoughts on both my practical and my essay and he gave me the go ahead.

The next post will take you to a place deep in my journey a place where I live....


Tuesday, 29 November 2016


'Portraits' is our new assignment for these next two weeks.

Firstly I've done my research. It sort of takes me back to my time while studying at Blackpool & The Flyde college.  We always did our research first before we took any photos.  Why, because you learned and got ideas from other people's work.  It quite often got me dreaming of images sometimes practically impossible to take but I dreamed, and sometimes I was able to come up with something else, sometimes just as good.  Once I found inspiration I'm off and running.

I stumbled upon some amazing portraits that are different and I feel that I want to apply this sort of creativity to my work to show what I can do and how I think in terms of seeing and imagining from my mindset.  I just looked at google images and got ideas from there as I scrolled down them.

I've chosen a Spanish girl for my first set of portraits.  She is young and is living and working in England for a year away from home in a college where she is a volunteer as an resident assistant. Which is a job she does in assisting students on a daily basis; she like a voice for them and a listening ear.

Here are a few trial shots I did on my iPhone.

I'd like to think of the first photo as an environmental photo as you can see the rain, along with the reflections of the outside world that surrounds her in this photograph.

The photo below was one I took as I looked at the back of my Nikon camera.
It is what we call a classic portrait.

More photos will follow soon as I continue to walk through this assignment.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Feedback on Relationships

Last Friday having presented my 'Relationships' project which I found to be the most challenging to date on the course.

Firstly I need to try to improve on this way of seeing as Leonie put it and I'm willing to learn this as I did like the idea of trying to capture this genre on camera as it does carry many deep issues.

Before the shoots I thought through the process and had an idea a picture in my head but due to time and other commitments it didn't happen.  The picture I had in my head and the theme that never left me was "A love gone" it simply was an idea to capture someone going through grief a process I've been through and i know the deep feelings one goes through during loss.  I wanted to capture possibly a woman standing at the window looking out yet clutching a photograph of the person no longer here but you can't see the photo as she was clutching it.  Then she sits down and looks at the photo and thats the fist time we get a glimpse of the person 'a love gone'.  Then the story unfolded with however she moved around the home environment.

That was what I kept thinking.  Other areas were a mother and child playing a parent love for the child which has a bond no-one can take away it's strong.

The last one was quite random as I walked the streets of Lancaster one rainy afternoon I thought to myself try the library and see if I could find anything worth photographing so upon entering someone caught my eye straight away.

However I wandered around looking just to see what I could spot.

But I kept thinking about this couple it was well looked like a student getting help with his written work from an older woman.  So I gently approached them and asked if I could photograph them and explained what I was doing and they said yes to my amazement I honestly thought they'd say no so I began to photograph them.

As I was taking the photos it dawned on me that I didn't have much space to move around in it was somewhat hard but I kept going.

Another thing I need to keep in mind is that I need to try and not photograph people from behind as it's important to capture the faces as you can tell so much more from the face, as you can see the emotion and that enables the viewer to get involved.  Lennie said that a fundamental skill of story telling is to bring a closeness into your photography.  And to do this one needs to see the face.  My aim is to now portray this in my work from now onwards.

Some other points relating to the feedback were basically on the mother and daughter photos.
Think about how things change for a mother, there are moments when mothers get fed up and exhausted with children but it's still an aspect of relationship.  Love can be about exhaustion and sacrifice.  Don't just look for one type of relationship but look at really human relationships with different aspects of emotion.  Going back to the images and ask yourself what would you change?

I told Leonie that at first I thought it might be about people in love and then I analysed it further and thought it might be more complex than that so I tried to think outside of the box.  Leonie said "perhaps love is not just one thing, it's many things like tiredness, discomfort, sacrifice, wanting to be alone.

I highly value Leonie's feedback in these sessions.

Below are some photos that I took for this brief.

Major Project

Having received the grades for my recent exams it’s time to focus on the MP. Just last week I began to think about the next step on my pro...