I bought a good camera and began to learn about the theory and practice of fine art photography. At first I was happy just to make a photo. Then I joined a camera club and began to enter competitions. After a while I have begun entering State and then National and International competitions.
After winning many National and State awards and being awarded the Associate of the Australian Photographic Society for my photography I wanted to identify a more purposeful direction for my photography. After a lot of thought I have began to specialize in photos that show an uplifting image of people with disabilities.
This has been a truly exciting experience. Several other photographers also accepted the challenge of this topic and we have photographed people with a disability who are successful artists as well as wheelchair athletics, electric wheelchair soccer, electric wheelchair hockey, Boccia for people with cerebral palsy, archery for people with an intellectual handicap, surfing for people with disabilities, and many other activities.
We give copies of the photographs to the people and organizations involved and are happy for them to be used as posters or in instructional materials and newsletters. Some of my fellow photographers had no experience with people with disability and for them it has been a strong learning experience.
I have cut back my workload so that I can give more time to photography. I write less reports and try to take more photographs that show people with disability in a positive way. This is a real challenge and one I enjoy very much. I hope some of these photos will help people with disabilities to see themselves as successful athletes and artists and as important members of our society.
In all cases such as this we are happy to provide copies of the photographs at no charge to ensure that we are not seen as commercial photographers.
It has been much more rewarding than taking award-winning photographs that end up sitting in a cupboard. These photographs are now framed on people’s walls and in their family albums. The experience has shifted me away from writing reports towards meeting a wide range of people and seeing their amazing achievements. This would not have happened had I not gone to Abilympics in Prague.