Hannah Fountain: How becoming deaf led me to focus on my career as a photographer

Posted on April 11, 2017

No one ever tells you how to cope with loosing one of your senses, you look online for any help and there is very little.

Looking through the pages and pages of web search on google throws you into this dark lonely place, how are you going to live like this? How are you going to work?

Believe it or not some “friends” may even disappear after telling them you’ve lost one of your senses.

I felt like everyone had abandoned me in my hour of need, I went into a very dark place and to be honest I’m still there. I don’t know how to live without my hearing, I didn’t realise how much I took for my hearing for granted until it was gone. This has happened to me when I lost my hearing. You go through through a grieving process that you never knew you could have over losing one of your senses.

I was a portrait and wedding photographer before I lost my hearing but after my hearing went I thought about hanging my camera up for good because I didn’t know how I was going to continue something I loved when I couldn’t communicate with my clients as I once had.

It was at this time I received an email asking to go down to my local rugby club and photograph a couple of matches. It is important at this stage to say that I loved sports photography but my college tutors had told me to give up on sports and go into portraiture so never got a proper chance to take pictures of sports.

When I got down there I felt like I was at home, I didn’t have to worry about my deafness, I could just take the pictures.

It was after that first match that I decided that I wouldn’t give up on my photography, just go down a different path. I also wrote down a list of teams and stadiums that I would love to work in one day. These are:

Leicester Tigers (rugby) at Welford road Leicester
Leicester city
Wolverhampton wanderers
O2 arena
London Olympic stadium
Wembley stadium
Commonwealth games

So far I have achieved two of those goals, last April I photographed a rugby match at Wembley stadium and recently I photographed Wolverhampton Wanders v Ipswich Town.

Here are some of my photos:

I still have plans to cross off everything on my list but I can’t stop thinking about that dark place. When I’m photographing sport I feel like there is a way out of the dark but I often lie awake at night asking the same question over and over again, why?

I may never know the answer to that question. But if I give myself a target to aim for maybe it will help me to get out of this dark place and fully accept my new lift as a deaf sports photographer.

The one thing that I have learn out of all of this is although you feel alone, there are people out there that know what you are going through. As my favourite TV show was so famous in saying in the 3rd series, You Are Not Alone.

I would love to hear your experiences of how you have coped with your hearing loss or if your a deaf photographer I would love to chat!

Please feel free to get in contact with Hannah via: info@hrfphotography.co.uk

Hannah says: “Hi my name is Hannah, I’m a freelance sports photographer based in Clacton on sea Essex. I have recently lost my hearing which has been a big blow, not only for me but also for my career as a portraiture/ wedding photographer. I fell in love with sports photography by accident when I was invited to photograph my local rugby club, after that I was hooked and started to work towards a new dream in photographing the Olympic games. You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or take a look at my website www.hrfphotography.co.uk.”

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