A Monkey's Revenge - My Blog

Inspiration, motivation and going for gold

Every now and then a job comes along that proves to be a real challenge but also an inspiration. I did just this sort of assignment for The Daily Telegraph last week when I photographed the triple paralympic champion Stephen Miller. He has suffered from cerebral palsy since birth- a type of brain damage that affects the brain signals which control balance, coordination and muscles.

As a result of his condition Stephen cannot control his facial muscles so that makes photographing him particularly difficult. You see I wanted to get across the gentle geordie's sense of humour which shone out clearly as soon as I met him. He presented his hand for me to shake and after a fashion I did that, albeit made difficult by his illness.

I'm finding it difficult to write this because I'm inspired by how Stephen copes with his disability- but the last time I mentioned something similar to a disabled photographer he accused me,(and others who felt the same), of being patronising. It's not meant that way at all of course- I really mean what I say and when I look at some of the things I've moaned about in the past they all seem rather trivial in comparison to the struggle Stephen and other disabled people cope with on a daily basis. It truly puts things into perspective and I feel very humbled by how he cheerfully gets on with things. 

I hope my efforts reflect his personality. I enjoyed photographing him and also the other paralympic athletes I was able to take photos of. I've since also enjoyed reading about him on his website at http://www.stephenjamesmiller.co.uk

Working alongside me was the Telegraph's writer Gareth A. Davies. I've worked with Gareth before and he always makes the job interesting. The relationship between reporter and photographer isn't always an easy one. We think visually and they think in words. Some writers simply can't grasp the concept that photos are just as important as the words, but Gareth isn't one of them. His passion for the sports he writes about is glaringly obvious, but he also really cares about the photographer getting the best photos possible. I'd better stop there in case he reads this and gives me a bear hug!

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