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Archive for February 16th, 2012

“I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.”
-Simon and Garfunkel –

The quote today was inspired by the delightful model from this morning’s Photography shoot at work. Ironically though, I can’t share her photos with you! My work involves helping people with physical/learning disabilities to find employment. It’s a frustrating job for the most part. People stop listening when they hear disability and switch off. A lot of the time they put the phone down, or they stop returning calls and emails. Individuals with disabilities can be equal to or even better than someone without – in a work place. I’ve seen examples of this first hand. That is why my job is so frustrating, people don’t look past the stigma and see the person – they see only the labels.

My work from day to day varies, it involves a lot of time on the road, visiting clients and their workplaces – sourcing out new places where possible and so on. The woman I photographed today was in employment. I was tasked by my managers to get some shots that could be suitable for future literature and our banners that we use at job fairs and roadshows. I literally had about ten minutes to snap away whilst the lady in question was at work, no lighting props, no quick lens changes – just a simple snap here and there. I think I got the shots that were needed – and I captured her smile which was the most important part.

Amy* giggled the whole way through and asked me if she was going to be famous. I smiled at her then, I couldn’t help it – she was infectious – and I said… ‘You know anything is possible.’ A few months ago she didn’t think that finding a job was even possible – now she believes so much more in herself. It’s this difference that makes the job worthwhile and makes the challenges I outlined above – non-existence for just a few seconds.

Amy* probably won’t get famous from the pictures I took today – for confidentiality reasons I have changed her name and cannot share the images.  But I hope that her cause becomes famous – I hope that soon people are able to see those with disabilities as equal and realise that they are worth just as much as the next human being. I hope that in the future – people like Amy become famous for abolishing the divide. A divide that so many people choose not to believe in.

The images from today have really touched me – I’m looking back at them now, at the shots of *Amy looking at something on a computer screen with her employer smiling over her shoulder. I’m incredibly proud that I’ve captured something that didn’t need to be staged and that regardless of whether or not my employers choose to use the images to promote the service – I captured truth and honesty rather than a posed airbrushed model standing in the place of one of our clients.

There were plenty of other opportunities to shoot other things as I went about my work today. A horse and cart travelling down a quaint high street – two horses rubbing noses in a field – but I didn’t capture any of this. Buddy caught a poor mouse and was incredibly pleased with himself. He sat waiting outside the back door with the tail hanging out of his mouth. But that shot was a bit macabre! In the end I grabbed a couple of sunsets and the dragonfly ‘sculpture’ at the Solstice Services in Amesbury. I also captured the Amesbury Archer – not how I wished to capture him but it’s a start! I’ll be going back to pay more attention next time.  Poor effort – but I promise lots more went into today’s photo shoot of*Amy!

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