"Being a photographer who is practically blind, it’s going to hurt people’s brains"

Photograph by Ian Treherne
Deafblind photographer Ian Treherne, right, shooting his subject (Image credit: Ian Treherne • Sense)

"When I found out, at the age of 15, that I was going to lose my sight, suddenly, imagery became massively important to me. I wanted to see everything, before I couldn’t any more."

Ian Treherne is a professional photographer from Essex, in the United Kingdom. To coincide with Deafblind Awareness Week 2023, he has written a blog about his love of photography for Sense – a British charity that supports the deafblind community as well as those with complex disabilities. 

"I have a condition called Usher syndrome, type 2, which has caused visual impairment," explains Ian. "I’ve currently got about 5% of my eyesight left. I’m also profoundly deaf. 

"Being deafblind, to me, represents a lot of challenges in life, but also opens a lot of other doors, which I would probably never experience if I was fully sighted and fully hearing."

Among those opportunities were the chance to photograph Paralympians, for British broadcaster Channel 4 ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics, as well as a shoot with iconic photographer Rankin. 

Despite those enormous career highs, however, Ian's most treasured achievement is the ability to inspire other members of the deafblind photographic community. 

"The biggest highlight of my career, for me, is the amount of other blind photographers that contact me to say thanks for what I’m doing. Lots of amateur blind photographers say that I’ve inspired them to pick up a camera and have a go at photography. Why should we be limited by society’s ideas of us?"

Watch the video below featuring Ian busting some myths about deafblindness (you can also read the descriptive transcript). You can also find more information about Sense and the work it does at its official website.

It's never too late – or too early – to start learning photography, so check out the best cameras for beginners, as well as the best cameras for kids.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.