Photography can help you make it through difficult periods of your life. And in his series Focus on Mental Health, photographer David Dixon meets photographers who have inspiring and encouraging stories to tell. One of them is Chris Nowell, the only registered blind landscape photographer in the Peak District, U.K. And in this video, Chris shares his story of how he was injured and how this severe injury led him to discover his love of photography.
David started the series after opening up about how he used photography to recover and maintain his mental health. Other photographers started contacting him, and he went out to meet them and hear their stories. There are two goals of this series. First, it’s to make it become more commonplace to talk about our problems. And second, it’s to encourage everyone to take positive steps towards recovering and maintaining their mental health. Chris Nowell is one of these people who had gone through a personal hell, but he found peace and consolation in art, or more precisely: in landscape photography.
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Stanage on Ice. My final image from the most recent snowfall in our area. This time inside a peaceful little woodland in the area of Stanage edge. What was special about this little woodland was the amount of wildlife. Strangely the woodland was silent. With the sound of wildlife being almost non-existent most probably due to the snow if anything. However the obvious sign of rabbit/hare footprints in the snow will clear to see. With that the odd sound of rustling in the bushes more specifically the low grass and bramble bushes. Then as I was set up with my tripod taking my time really enjoying this beautiful little tree surrounded by these taller trees above. I could see the top signs of hare running along the top of the grass and brambles. Very nice peaceful little moment with this pleasant little animals. Wishing you all a wonderful Friday. stay out of that harsh wind today😊 #Vanguard Photo UK #Kase Filters UK #Blind Veterans UK #peakdistrictnationalpark Peak District National Park #landscapephotography #peakdistrictphotography #derbyshiretimes #derbyshiredales #woodland #stanageedge #forest #snow#canonuk #outdoors #blindveteransuk #blesma #peakdistrictwalks
In September 2007, Chris was standing with his fellow soldiers when a rocket hit a wall right behind them. His skull was fractured and he suffered a series of severe injuries. He spent about a year and a half learning how to read, write and walk again. Chris admits that he would get fed up, bored and frustrated. But then, he became a member of Blind Veterans, an organization that helps blind veterans rebuild their lives after sight loss. This is when he first got interested in photography.
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My Lost Tree. Great news yes we did find the lost tree of Longshaw. Amazingly it really was not where I fought it was. Admittedly my previous image of this tree was taken some years ago however. I do not remember there being a path situated less than 10 metres away. In the past I must’ve been at this location for about an hour not hearing or seeing another person. Now I know that’s funny because I am blind so I probably did not even notice anyone but the location had a completely different feel to it. The location felt as if it was heading down in the valley. In fact it is not it is situated quite high up on a hill. It felt isolated hidden away from civilisation unfortunately this is not the case. When we first arrived the sun was hidden in the clouds without any shadows this image just doesn’t work so we had to wait sometime. The break in the clouds gave us the shadows we needed glistening upon the rocks boosting the green moss. The extremely long octopus like arms of this tree creeping out Where just as fantastic as before. Very happy that I have found my Lost tree however very much slightly disappointed towards the lost remote feel. Thank you to Michele Coles for the heads up👍 Vanguard Photo UK Alta pro tripod Kase Filters UK K8 polariser Peak District National Parklongshaw Let's Go Peak District #blindveteransuk #vanguardworld #peakdistrictnationalpark #landscapephotography ##vanguardphotouk #kasefiltersuk #canonuk #peakdistrict
Despite his eyesight being severely damaged, Chris found a great passion for landscape photography, and he became good at it. He enjoys this genre in particular because he doesn’t really enjoy crowds (I can totally relate). Chris is also an ambassador of Vanguard Photo UK, and the only registered blind landscape photographer in the Peak District.
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Fick green jungle like bushes from the ferns. Damp also like a jungle after an Amazon rain fall. Soft ground almost impossible to walk on feel like you could fall through at any moment. Heavy amounts of water collecting on the outside of your boots. Smell of damp moss in the air. Wildlife singing and sneaking through the bushes around you. Not a sound of another human anyway just yourself and the trees this is woodland photography. Final part of our #Nationaltreeweek Remember to check out the monthly newsletter style link tonight around 6 PM @vanguardphotouk @kasefilters_uk #canon5dmarkiii #canon24105mm #camerafilters #derbyshirelifemagazine #vanguardworld #peakdistrictnationalpark #landscapephotography #camerafilters #peakdistrict #sheffield #woodlandphotography #blindveteransuk #blesma #trees #kasefiltersuk #vanguardphotouk
Personally, I think that Focus on Mental Health series is a great way to empower people and encourage them to talk about their problems. I believe that it’s important to talk when we’re having a hard time, and I also believe that art can help us get through it. So, make sure to watch the video and hear the entire Chris’ story. You can watch more stories on David’s YouTube channel, and I hope they’ll empower you if you’re currently going through a rough time.