Expressing myself in words and pictures

A segment of 'Light through the leaves' by Lucy Dawson
‘Light through the leaves’ by Lucy Dawson

Photography and creative writing are really important to me. Both help me to express myself, and to describe things that I sense and feel around me. I am deafblind from birth, have a detached retina and use hearing aids.

I first started writing while I was recovering from eye surgery. I was quite depressed about my situation (I was housebound at the time) and so I started writing random thoughts and feelings on my laptop.

I began to put these thoughts together to create poem-like structures. My first piece was called ‘Isolation’ because that was how I was feeling at that moment. I posted the poem on Facebook and got a strong reaction from people, which inspired me to write more. At the same time, it also helped me to feel better.

Lucy and Becky her guide dog
Lucy and Becky her guide dog

I find inspiration in all sorts of places and have developed a technique for capturing ideas. I will make a short, random voice recording if a particular sense or word comes to me. For example, if I’m out in the garden, I’ll record how the flowers smell or feel, the emotions they provoke – anything that comes to mind. I’ll then listen back to the recordings and put my feelings into a piece of writing.

More than words

I started taking photos about five years ago when I saw a family friend’s ‘light painting’ photos at a show and thought I’d give it a go. From there my creativity blossomed.

When I first started, I took photos of things I touched throughout the day, using a basic handheld camera, putting them together to make a ‘day in a life’ collage. I also liked to focus on a particular subject and take as many photos as possible, interpreting them through touch and feel.

Photography is a unique experience when you’re deafblind. I have since upgraded my handheld camera to a DSLR, and have found that anything I touch, smell, hear or see can be translated into an image.

My family and friends say that my photos are good, and have encouraged me to look into selling some of them. They’ve also been really positive about my writing, although a few were initially sceptical about whether I had actually written the pieces, and assumed I had ‘copied and pasted’ the words! But I can say with absolute certainty that each and every one is my own work.

The opportunity to publish or exhibit my work would be amazing. It would also send a message to people that you don’t need perfect vision or hearing to be a good writer or photographer – it’s actually all about creativity.


by Lucy Dawson

Isolation is to be left out when you want to be in, a sense of
Isolation is being alone even when people surround you.
Isolation is hearing laughter in a room and silence when you
walk in.
Isolation is staying away from people afraid they will judge or
Isolation is sad and small, hard to decribride unless you are the
person feeling it.
Isolation is quiet.
Isolation is tears swimming in eyes but don’t fall within the
public eye.
Isolation is counting how many times you get let down until
eventually lose track.
Isolation is wanting to break free but not knowing how.
Isolation is not hearing an answer when you ask a question.
Isolation makes you feel worthless and better off not being
it has to be one of the cruellest emotions that can take hold,
I despise it.
I should think everyone does.

Read more of Lucy’s poems as accessible pdfs:

Beyond the line of sight (PDF)
Taste of freedom (PDF)
The box (PDF)

Author: Lucy Dawson

Lucy is an photographer and poet who is deafblind

One thought on “Expressing myself in words and pictures”

  1. Thank you Lucy for sharing your brilliant poem and for nailing the feeling of isolation to the fence. It is great to hear how positive your creative journey has been and how you have expanded your practice from word to image to create poignant narratives. Have you experimented with descriptions of texture alongside smooth photographs? Exhibiting your work can be very daunting, it is after all a very personal reaction to something, but I have witnessed time after time the positive impact and huge amount of pride gained from sharing your work with others. You may even find a likeminded artist to collaborate with! Hope you continue to draw creative inspiration from your experiences and surroundings. Keep exploring & creating. You are a shining example of how creative confidence seeps into all areas of the everyday and transforms lives. Alex McEwan ( Freelance Artist / Facilitator)

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