The Association of Photographers celebrates thinking differently

The Association of Photographers celebrates creative potential of thinking differently:

In a new survey conducted by The Association of Photographers (AOP) to its membership in association with the British Dyslexia Association to celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Week 2022 (3-9 October) and World Dyslexia Day on 7 October, 82 per cent of the respondents most identified with the particular trait of ‘Imagining: Creating an original piece of work or giving ideas a new spin’. About two thirds (61 per cent) of those surveyed identified as dyslexic and about a third (34 per cent) believe they have another form of neurodiversity.

Respondents were also asked why they chose to be a professional photographer, with many stating that it was because they wanted to pursue a creative path and the visual opportunities a career in the photo industry offered them had potential. Only a few respondents mentioned avoiding other career pathways which were known to be more text-based professions.

Each respondent had differing feelings about whether they found dyslexia a help or a hindrance; on the one hand as professional photographers they excelled in the visual world with extraordinary dexterity, but on the other they mentioned they were often challenged by heavy text-based documents.

Several photographers, including London-based photographer Peter Dazeley BEM FRPS, who is known for his fine art, advertising, and successful series of London books, saw this way of thinking differently as a ‘superpower’ and being an imaginative problem solver.

Peter comments, “The opportunity dyslexia brings is one of problem solving. As a child I was seen as a dumb kid, but all I did was view things differently to find a solution. I can see the same traits in my daughter, who is also dyslexic, as it is hereditary. Rather than seeing it as a disability, we consider dyslexia to be our ‘superpower’, which enables us to approach life in a different way and apply our own problem-solving abilities to challenges and issues.”

Isabelle Doran, chief executive officer of The Association of Photographers, says, “This has been an invaluable process of learning and discovery, meaning that not only as a member-based trade association we will aim to provide more support and resources for our members, but also adapt our communications – including our website, to be more accessible as a result. We also took the decision to highlight dyslexia in a positive context and so have brought together a collection of images, provided by our members, to show their brilliance at thinking differently in their visual language.”

The ‘Drawing on Dyslexia’ spotlight feature https://www.aopawards.com/aop-gallery/ is an online exhibition of six curated images, celebrating the creative potential of thinking differently, and will run throughout Dyslexia Awareness Week.

Speaking on behalf of the British Dyslexia Association (BDA), Helen Goodsall, knowledge & information manager, comments, “There is no universally agreed definition of dyslexia, but we do know that it influences as many as one in ten people. It is a genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information. Dyslexic individuals have differing abilities, with strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills and challenges with spelling, reading and memorising facts. Overall, dyslexic individuals really do think differently and at the BDA we celebrate the creative outlets they explore to realise their full potential.”

The AOP will be hosting an online panel discussion ‘Celebrating the Creative Potential of thinking Differently’ on Thursday, 6 October between 19:00-20:30, attended by Helen Goodsall of the BDA and photographer Peter Dazeley, to discuss dyslexia and creative thinking and understand the motivations behind choosing photography as a career.

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