Accessible Photography

Photography Accessibility Consultant

My Perspective

Louis Gaudry holding his camera facing right.

As a person born Thalidomide, I know and understand what Thalidomide is. The drug thalidomide is a sedative discovered in the late fifties and given to pregnant mothers to relieve nausea during pregnancy. The Canadian government officially took it off the market in March 1962. There were more than one hundred babies born that were Thalidomide. At an early age, I realized that I was going to have challenges to overcome. I also realized that I would have challenges that I would want to take on, for the sake of challenging myself.

According to Google the definition of the word amazing is, causing astonishment, great wonder, or surprise, an amazing story of personal bravery and survival. I do not fall under these categories. I find often people will see me in public doing something, and they will comment. That is amazing how you do that. But really its not. I just do tasks differently then others. I guess in their eyes it is amazing. Because often when I see someone with a physical challenge doing something, the first thing going through my mind is, that is amazing, and I find that interesting.

I have always had an interest in photography for as long as I can remember. In high school I took a photography class when there were no such thing as digital cameras, just film cameras, and you may think that was roughing it. But really it was not. I found it interesting to be able to develop your own pictures and to see the results on photo paper. After high school, I had an interest in Web Designing. So, I took a course at Red River College Polytechnic - Exchange District Campus in Winnipeg, and in that course, you took a digital photography class, as part of the web designing course. I had learned so many things, but there was one slight problem. I was unable to hold the camera and take pictures all at the same time. The reason for that was that I could not hold the camera up high enough for me to look in the viewfinder and snap a picture. I tried using tripod, and it did work. But I wanted to be able to take pictures on the fly like everyone else. So, the hobby ended up coming to a stand still for now.

In 2017 I decided to try photography once again. I knew there were going to be challenges ahead of me, but I was up for it. I knew I was going to have to research what cameras and adapters that I may need that were out there and what would best suit me. With the help of my friend Trish Jackson from Australia, who I had met on social media, I knew I was going to get the best advice when it came to cameras. She was born Thalidomide, just like me and understood the challenges and struggles when it comes to figuring out how to manage a camera. The one thing they did that made it easier for me, and for my friend Trish, was the flip-out viewfinder and things were starting to look up.

I spent hours, researching what gear I was going to need, and what gear I was going to have to adapt for myself. I realized that adapting gear for myself will be an ongoing process. My first camera was the Lumix FZ300 by Panasonic and the reason for it, was it was the same camera Trish was using and I asked her lots of questions before purchasing it. As time went on, I got use to it. At first, I always used a camera strap because of the fear of dropping it. Now I do not bother with any camera. Now that I am comfortable with overseeing a camera, I can concentrate on perfecting the craft of taking pictures.