June 23, 2024

Below 2020 Media

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Lockdown joy for visually impaired photographer

3 min read
Will Phillips visually impaired photographer

Visually Impaired Photographer

Cutty Sark
Will Phillips photo on the front cover of IN FOUCUS magazine

Will Phillips started taking photos back in 1960 many years before digital was invented, he was inspired by his dad who was a local professional photographer in Fareham covering events for The News based in Portsmouth.

Between 1975 and 1978 Will went into the territorial army as a cook and was attached to the 2nd Battallion Wessex Regiment, then between 1979 and 1983 Will went to college studying art and product design as well as photography as a second subject, will had also worked at Portsmouth library as a volunteer, where he was asked to help do some of the graphic designs on the D Day museum.

After leaving college Will was getting into his photography a bit more and owned a Pentax MX, and despite his sight beginning to deterirate he processed his photos in the darkroom but he did not like it much because of the strain on his eyes, but he did produce some very good black and white prints back in those days.

Even though his vision was starting to be an issue Will continued taking photos mainly on holidays he enjoyed shooting architecture and abstract, he was pleased when digital cameras were introduced to the world this made his life a lot easier and less stress free.

Between 1991 and 2011 Will was a collections officer for Hampshire Museums working in Winchester, he looked after the military collection and cameras, he also had to photograph the objects in the studio which kept his interest in photography.

Sadly in 2011 Will had to retire on ill health grounds due to his continued sight loss, he had cataract operation at Moorfields Eye Hospital London, shortly after that his retina detached in his right eye and had to have it operated on at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham which improved his sight slightly but did not cure the problem, he now only has use of his left eye and after many years of going to Moorfields Will finally got a diagnoses for his sight loss it was Dystrophy which is a condition that affects the cornea which begins to thicken and the cornea becomes cloudy, Dystrophy causes the clear layer (cornea) on the front of the eye to swell which can result in glare cloudy vision and some discomfort.

In 2013 Will applied and was successful in joining the Blind Veterans and every year they hold photography workshops for a whole week and they occasionally get some guest speakers in to talk about their career, Will enters some of his work for feed back and his work can be seen displayed on the walls at their complex in Brighton.

During the lockdown due to COVID – 19 Will has admitted he is finding it quite difficult not being able to meet with other people people and being visually impaired and living alone Will is used to getting out and about but he is like other people are being restricted on where he can go, he does get the support from Blind Veterans who communicates with him through video call so that helps him with his isolation.

Will does get out for his daily walk and sometimes he takes his camera with him to take some photos, but Will says he walks everywhere because he feels he can not use public transport until it is safer to do so, however there is always some good news during these hard times and in Will’s case he he recently signed up to The Disabled Photographers Society who are run by disabled people for disabled people they are a registered charity formed in 1968to help make photography accessible to those with disabilities you can find more about them by going to their website the-dps-.co.uk, he entered three images for a competition one being of the Cutty Sark he took in London two years ago this photo got awarded as commended and was on the front page of their magazine IN FOCUS.

Will found The Disabled Photographers Society after being a member of the Royal Photographers Society for many years but became disheartened with their attitude to visually impaired photographers, and by making that switch it has proven to be the right thing to do and at the correct moment due to these uncertain times it is so nice to receive some good news now and agin no matter how trivial it is to some people but for Will Phillips it means the world to him.



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