I’m not really sure how to go about this. I suppose I’ll just keep writing, then post one bit at a time. I’ll just start at the beginning and go from there. I shall do my best to keep in a lot of detail (for those of you who may be interested) without boring the socks off the rest of you.
From a young age I spent a lot of time frustrated by many things thought in the classroom. I understood what was going on but couldn’t seem to retain the information other children could. This made me boisterous and very easily distracted. A slippery slope for someone who finds retaining linguistic information tricky.
It wasn’t till much later that I discovered that ‘practice makes perfect’. In my case I could never be perfect but I did, and still do get better the more I read and write. Whether it was forcing myself to read literature far beyond my capabilities in photography degree, reading about dyaspora and semiotics or my most recent practice, reading my one year old daughter bedtime stories.
I was lucky enough to be recognised as dyslexic at a really young age. I was seven years old and was at primary school. I don’t really remember much about it from then. Just the occasional chants and memory techniques to help some spellings stick, in my learning support lessons. The hatred of having to leave the classroom to do my own special work but the then leniency in other work like reading out loud. I point blank refused to do it in front of my peers. I was however, made to read out loud by my Mum every morning in order to get better.
I continued through school, some years refusing my learning support and other times accepting my fate. As if leaving the occasional lesson was that bad or fatalistic. Well it seemed it at the time. Like I was being singled out.
It wasn’t until I was around 12 that I was made to feel remotely good at languages, no, scratch that, capable. It was Miss Farmer, my english teacher who took it upon herself to move me from one of the bottom english grupes to one of the top. In one foul swoop. She, in her wisdom, had decided that just because I couldn’t really do it, I understood it, and that was enough for her. So I went up. And struggled (you can see why, I just used two connectives to start sentences). To be honest, I couldn’t really do it, I was so far behind, but it was the first time I had been challenged properly and I enjoyed it. Enough to make me want to do better. I ended up with C’s for both literature and language, of which I am very proud.
To be honest, I coasted through the next bit of life, getting a few unconditional offers in a row. This meant that to get into 6th form college to do a full time art course I only needed a few GCSE’s, far less than I was going to get. Then the same for my degree, I never needed to finish my courses, I got in on portfolio alone. This was fantastic for a dyslexic. No exam pressure in which my reading would let me down.
Within my 6th form journey through art into photography I was encouraged by two dyslexic photographers that I met within six months of each other. The first was my photography tutor Jason Evans who encouraged me to take up his evening class in photography, which I loved, and simultaneously he was the first adult to treat me like one. He also was the first person I met who had a truly psychedelic outlook on life. I will never know but would bet money that he wasn’t high, he just had fantastic view of the world that only he could see.
These pictures are from the first roll of film that I put through a manual camera. Developed and printed by yours truly over the weeks that followed. My first experience of photography, where anyone can see that I was no gift to the medium. Just a student taking some really average pics.