Ian Treherne is a photographer based in Essex, England. He was born profoundly deaf. At 15 he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. A degenerative condition that causes severe visual impairment, eventually leading to complete blindness.
This video from Wex showcases the truly inspiring story of Ian and his work. Voiced by Ian himself, we get some insight into what it means to be a deaf and blind photographer. Why he does it at all. And how he uses photographer to overcome the isolation and anxiety he experiences daily.
Growing up profoundly deaf, Ian used to watch black and white films with actors such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. He also obsessed over photographs in magazines, particularly fashion. Always wondering “How can I do that?”.
Upon receiving his diagnosis at fifteen, Ian became determined to make a career in photography. He has a unique style that reflects the limited view of his own vision. Ian says he created a style based on what he could see, because he doesn’t know any different.
Photography allows Ian to form a deeper connection with the world around him. To overcome the isolation, anxiety and stress he experiences as a result of his condition. It lets him to participate in the world, to connect with people.
Photography also helps Ian come to terms with the reality that one day he will lose his sight. He’s even embracing becoming known as “The Blind Photographer”. Until that day comes, though, he’s going to keep pushing himself, and his photography. He wants to leave a body of work that inspires others, to challenge them to pick up the camera. To have it help them the way it’s helped him.
In recent years, Ian has campaigned to raise awareness for his condition, and change the perception of disability. As a result, he was nominated for the Person of the Year award by disability charity, Sense, in September 2017.
It’s an incredible story of an amazing person.
It’s the first in a new series of five short films from Wex. Titled More Than An Image, the series celebrates photographers who have overcome extraordinary odds to get where they are. People for whom photography has been a profoundly life changing experience.
An exhibition of images from the photographers covered in the series will launch on the 1st of November at Wex’s new flagship store in London, due to open at the end of October.