I did a lecture on my Photography and explained FND to a class

On the 20th January at the conference, I attended I met a Lecturer for St Mary’s University and he does Photojournalism on sports, so a potential good contact. We discussed a few things over the conference and he said it would be nice to have you come and talk about a real-life as photojournalist to these Post Grad Students. I said I would consider it.

However through a number of email exchanges over the coming week, he suggests I come on Tuesday 7th at 3.30pm, however by now it’s 4pm ish on Monday 6th, not much time to say yes or no. I decided yes I will do it, so prepared a talk. However that was not needed as he directed relevant questions to me to answer, and the time went very quickly.

However, as I suffer from FND, I did a warning to the class if you see me spasm or have a long time to think about a reply that’s just a brain fog coming in and I will get an answer, just not straight away. They took that at face value and were happy with my little warning as I had no idea what was coming both in the terms of a lecture or the questions the post-grads were going to ask me.

They asked how my FND affected my photography work and until the Sunday before when I photographed the Wheelchair Basketball at UEL I had not shot any sports for a while. However when I got into the rhythm of the game it all came flooding back, where to focus, who to focus and how do you follow that ball without leaving your eye from the viewfinder.

The game certainly took a lot of energy from me, but when finished I was buzzing with excitement to see what I had, a quick glance through on the camera playback screen and everything looked OK. However when I got home, my energy levels were at rock bottom, I was in a lot of pain that evening, so did some basic editing and found 8 great images and worked on them and released them later that evening.

So the question from a student is how much energy do you take, well it seems like 90% if you include travel time etc. A note to myself I must have easy food to heat up when I get home as well as various other snacks to keep my energy levels up.

We discussed my work before being struck down and how I got some of the photos, and good spots to take the photographs from. To a certain extent it’s a bit of luck, but knowing the sport and where people are passing you to get the good shots is the knowledge you need to know.

They asked about how I got into the sport, again that was asking people can I come along and take photographs. then you have the hard task to learn everyone’s name, knowing what they do, who they are connected to etc. This is not a one-day event, but multiple visits to whatever the events and you will start to see the same faces again. I told them if they get chatting with someone they want to do business with get out their credit card and buy them a coffee / drink as it extends their time with you and are more likely to spill the information they need, or introduction that they want/need. If they don’t want to talk to you they will make excuses and leave, and you should do the same if you can see this going nowhere. Basic networking stuff.

In general, my FND was fine during the lecture apart from a few spasms in my legs, but luckily I had a seat, but next time one without wheels, please.

As part of the deal, I did with Daragh for the lecture, in fact, I was not nervous and actually enjoyed it. Maybe I will come back and do something similar again, who knows.

Bonus 1

So Daragh said he can introduce me to Olivia a wheelchair racer as I want to photograph as many different sports as possible and do some wacky ideas with her. After around 30 minutes we got to know what she was doing and what I wanted to do and we agreed to do this after the qualifying heats in Dubai and she returned on March 10th. So will be sending her an email to see how she did and if she still wants to do the photoshoot etc. More details on that in around a month’s time.

Bonus 2

This one I was not expecting this, but St Marys University wanted to do an article on me Yes little old me! about the new network, I am setting up www.thesportsdisabilitynetwork.com and my background in sports photography. I spent some time with James describing my background and what I hope to achieve in the future. Just waiting to hear from James with the text for me to approve soon and I will post that here as soon as it’s available.

I forgot to take some photos of me in the room, as I was introduced as I was walking down the middle of the class as Daragh introduced me, I had not even taken my coat off at that point and we went straight into the talk. Yes, I did take my coat off before we got started. next time I will remember to take some photos as I now know the set-up, well hopefully.

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