Helen Lloyd, photographer for Unfiltered Lives
Helen Lloyd is a photographer who graduated from University of Wolverhampton in 2015 with a BA (Hons) in Photography. She is passionate about the subject and hopes to pursue it as a future career. With a portfolio that ranges from still life to landscapes to portraits, she is also a member of the Great Barr Photographic Society.
Making the transition from education to employment with a vision impairment
I left university and hoped to get employment in a hospital medical photography department as I have an interest in this area. I managed to get a temporary position at local hospital but this was short lived as the funding for the post was cut. I have had numerous interviews since then for the same type of post but have been unsuccessful in gaining a position. The fact that I have been unable to drive has made some jobs out of my reach. I do sometimes wonder if my disability is the reason for not getting further in my quest for medical illustration employment but obviously this is never given as a reason even though the feedback is very positive about my qualifications, portfolios, work experience and interview answers! I am currently working in an office in Wolverhampton where my visual impairment doesn’t cause any issues. My nystagmus does mean that reading tasks may take a little longer as I sometimes find scanning from one line to another difficult, but I don’t think this has been an issue in transitioning from education to work.
Working with the Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR)
I have been involved in answering questions over the phone about the experience I had transitioning from education to employment. I was also involved in a workshop led by VICTAR involving participants from the project who have different disabilities completing different tasks set by the project leaders.
I have had the opportunity to share my experiences with other young people by attending the workshop run by VICTAR, participating in the tasks the young people were given and answering questions they asked me. I was able to compare my experiences with those of other visually impaired young people and learn from their strategies and coping mechanisms.
It has made me realise that people with visual impairment experience varying degrees of difficulties when transitioning from education to employment. It has also made me realise that there are lots of resources young people with a visual impairment can use to assist them in making their transition from education to employment easier.
A passion for photography
My passion for photography started at secondary school when I decided I would like to peruse a career in medical photography. This was possibly influenced by the amount of time I had spent in the medical illustration departments of hospitals as a patient whilst growing up.
Since then I achieved a GCSE, an A Level and a degree in the subject learning basic skills and developing new techniques and ideas. This study of the subject gave me an understanding of how photography is a way of seeing, and showing others, different aspects of the world.
The advice I would give is, don’t let your visual impairment stop you move forward and if you are offered any help and advice take it and adapt the support when necessary. It is important that what a visually impaired person can do is more important that what their impairment means that they are unable to do.