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Special Needs Photography


skinneroon 13 5 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2010 11:15AM
Jules

Hijacked in a great way lol
LesleyJ 14 247 England
12 Feb 2010 1:23PM
Opps sorry LOL
NickyH 10 4 United Kingdom
5 Aug 2011 12:12AM
Just butting in here sometime later ... If anyone wants to ask me any Qs regarding www.nilmdts.org I'm happy to answer them - I lost a stillborn ten years ago, I turned semi-pro about 18 months ago and was approved to be an affiliated photographer for nilmdts last autumn. Part of the catalyst to take the plunge and turn pro was to work for this charity. I've met two families so far and carried out sessions for them, I find it immensely rewarding to provide something I did not get when I lost my little one.

Medical staff and emergency service folks see death on a regular basis, its work that is very much vocational in nature and support is available for them. The babies I've photographed simply look asleep, the staff and families handle them as if they were asleep, speaking softly to them just as if they were asleep - I don't handle them, apart from to tweak a blanket fold or similar, and the families have so far been calm and composed, I express my sorrow for their loss, they know I've suffered my own and ask me about what happened. I can create images to provide a lifetime of comfort to families whose potential for recording memories in pixels is gone in the blink of an eye. This work is monumentally important for healing and grieving, for the sake of a half hour session with a family, some editing and delivering a disc and a print. A few hours of your time can make a difference to a family for years.

Part of the criteria are a commercial website and to be working as a photographer, as well as having the necessary technical skills. Its not for everyone, and some cases can be harrowing if the baby has a disfigurement or similar, but its tremendously worthwhile.

Visit the www.nilmdts.org website for details, we need more photographers - I've written an article for a midwifery journal about it because midwives - as has been mentioned here already - are often the first carers who can tell a family this service exists, but only if there's an affiliated tog on their area. I'm actively recruiting for and publicising www.nilmdts.org because its important.

The original subject of this thread is also very important - it had not occurred to me that children in special schools don't necessarily get a school photo. What a brilliant idea, and I bet none of the big national chains offer it.

Nicky
NickyH 10 4 United Kingdom
5 Jul 2012 7:19PM
I am an affiliated tog for www.nilmdts.org - happy to answer any Qs regarding this, I have recruited a few togs and a coupe of DRAs. I lost a stillborn 11 years ago and that's why I am involved.

I have spent some time editing images today from a recent session for a bereaved family in Birmingham.

Sadly, not many hospitals know of us and I am working to raise awareness with maternity units and other charities who support bereaved parents. I have recruited a few togs and a couple of DRAs (Digital Retouch Artists) in recent months and I always warn them that it may be many months before they are called upon, simply because folk don't know we exist. But its a chicken and egg thing - there need to be togs ready for when hospitals do start to offer our service.

I hope to begin to co-ordinate a targeted effort in future months to raise awareness. I wrote an article for a midwifery journal which I hope reached a large number of midwives.

If you feel you could tolerate a small amount of discomfort to meet a family and create images to help them through years of pain, please read through info on the website, and feel free to ask me anything about it on here or by PM. The photos I have of my daughter are not great. The images I now create for others bring to them the comfort I myself craved.

I have had 3 sessions so far, the first 2 families are both expecting again imminently.

Thanks all, Nicky
www.nickyheppenstall.co.uk
Photo4x4 17 470 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2012 8:17AM
A very interesting and worthwhile thread indeed.

I took a slightly different view on the subject. Not photographing people with special needs but getting people with special needs out and about to take photographs.

I am a member of my local Community Council (the Scottish equivalent of the English Parish Council) and our Chair Person is quite severely disabled but this never seems to stop her having a go at anything. Indeed she has been an inspiration to me in many ways. I took her and her family (her daughter suffers from the same rare genetic condition) out in my truck up in to the local forestry to some of the viewpoints they could never have reached otherwise. They thoroughly enjoyed their day out (they are not photographers but I took them out to enjoy the views).

It then occurred to me that I had the opportunity to take photographers who were not able to get out and about so easily to places that would normally be well beyond their reach.

I spent some time discussing this with her and she explained to me the best ways I could help a person with restricted physical abilities and helped me to put together a package for them.

It has not been my intention to 'open up a new market' by doing this but is a genuine desire to help people who can't get to some of the fabulous places that I get to on a daily basis.

For example I offer the client a discount of 10% if they book through the Disabled Photographer's Society , and if they need a carer with them then the cares travels free. This means that I can only take one 'client' at a time as I take a maximum of two persons.

My friend helped me to understand that everyone is very different and that there is no 'one size fits all' solution but our 'Access For All' package shows a willingness to help and an enthusiasm for doing so.

So good luck Skinneroon and congratulations for having such a good idea and the drive to put it into action.

Keith Hart

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