RCPS Press Report 27th August 2015

Ripon City Photographic Society

One of the great things about photography is that almost everyone can get involved. Modern digital cameras, computers and software have made it easier for all, including people living with disabilities.

The starting point has to be the choice of photographic equipment. Cameras come in all shapes and sizes but two big considerations for disabled people are most likely to be the size of controls (too small and fiddly) and the weight (too heavy). However, all is not lost, for there have been some developments that offer solutions to these problems, although it has to be said that any modifications helpful to disabled people owe more to coincidence than a response to need.

There are cameras on the market of the type favoured by active sports people, police officers, Traffic Wardens and security personnel – the tiny ones that attach to a helmet or uniform. Whilst it may seem strange to think about a style of camera most associated with high activity when considering people for whom such activity may be challenging, it is the size of the camera, the ease of remote use and the ability for it to be secured to, for example, a wheelchair that raises possibilities of some interesting street photography for a start.

Controls can be circumvented and cameras adapted by the addition of switches or remote control cables to make taking a picture easier. If the use of a viewfinder poses problems for someone with a visual impairment then an acceptable resolution may be to find a camera with a large, moveable LCD screen on the back. The sizes of screens on the back of cameras vary, as does flexibility of movement of the screen. It will be a case of going to a retailer and handling a variety of cameras to find one that is most suitable. Once home, images can be enlarged by playing them through a television or by using a large screen computer. Most digital cameras give audible feedback, by beeping, on actions and functions and this can be useful to anyone with a hearing impairment.

If someone has limited dexterity then it might be worth considering using a mobile ‘phone that has a voice control capacity that allows the user to verbally command the ‘phone to take a photograph instead of requiring an area of the touch screen to be pressed.

In the UK there is a Kent based group, established a number of years ago, to cater for the needs of disabled photographers. Members can share a regular online magazine dedicated to their photographic needs, take part in online competitions and exchange photographic experiences. Details at www.disabledphotographers.co.uk Another site, www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk includes information about cameras with switches that have been adapted and other photographic equipment similarly modified to assist disabled people.

It is nearly time for our public Annual Photography Exhibition on Saturday, 5th September at Allhallowgate Methodist Church Hall, Victoria Grove (opposite the bus station). This is a great venue as it is accessible to all, as we have been delighted to have had proved by people using mobility vehicles in the Hall. There is car parking outside the Hall and close by. The event opens at 9.30am and closes at 4pm. The Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Ripon, Cllr Pauline McHardy, will officially open the event at 10am, and will then present awards and certificates to members whose images achieved success at a recent Yorkshire Photographic Union Exhibition. After touring the exhibition with her Consort, escorted by RCPS President Richard Littlefair and Treasurer Norma Holmes, the Mayoral party will enjoy the hospitality of our café. The exhibition is free to all and visitors can vote for their favourite pictures to have a chance of winning a print of their choice from the exhibition because all voting slips are entered into a draw that is made at our first Society meeting of the new season. There will be over 120 prints and a similar number of digital images available to see on a large screen television, almost all of which are being seen publicly for the first time. There will be a wide variety of subject matter on display, from close-ups, portraits, land and seascapes to architecture, creative studies and natural history amongst other things. It promises to be an excellent occasion – don’t miss it!

For more information please go to www.riponcityphotographicsociety.co.uk