This is Stuart. He can hear Sound


Week 18/26: Sound #BWProject26 .

We first met Stuart almost 18 years ago. He is a wood turner and he was standing smiling in his booth at a craft show. His wife stepped up at once and explained that Stuart was deaf, so she showed us his work as he looked on, smiling at us and doing his best to chat. Stuart had not been born deaf but had worked as a pile driver for many years and the vibration and loud sounds had gradually eroded his hearing. His wife explained to me that when deafness is caused by noise levels, a hearing aid is not good, because it increases the sound level, which then continues to cause even more hearing loss.

We saw Stuart a few times over the years and he always remained apparently accepting of his condition, smiling when we complimented him on his work and talking about it animatedly. I since found out that he had to put up a fight to get his hearing loss accepted as being work related so that he could receive a disability pension, but he never let on to us about his discouragements or concerns, continuing to turn and produce the things he loved to make.

A few years ago, Stuart had a cochlear implant and, he was able to hear for the first time in years. It was at first a bit strange to be able to speak to him in a more or less normal voice and have him respond, but everyone was so happy for him that this treatment had helped him to hear again. At last we were able to really get to know him properly.

We were all at the annual Nova Woodturners Guild BBQ the other day, when I saw Stuart sitting there listening to the conversation with a little smile on his face in response to what was being said. Those of us with no experience of such impairment can have no idea of the pleasure he must get when he can sit and listen to a conversation going on around him again.

So Stuart is my model for 'Sound', the theme for this project this week.

My photographic posts are all on my blog : .

Curated by +Tisha Montgomery+Brandon Luk+Lauri Novak+Al Chris

#hqspportraits +HQSP Portraits​ curated by +Heiko Köster+Frank Nöthe

#portraitgallery +Portrait gallery​ by +Aamir Shahzad

#allthingsmonochrome +All Things Monochrome​ by +Charles Lupica​, +Enrique Pelaez​, +Brian Cox​, +Dorian Stretton​ and +Bill Wood

#monochromeworld +Monochrome World​ by +andi rivarola

#hqspmonochrome +HQSP Monochrome​ curated by +Luis Vivanco S.+Оксана Крысюкова+Nader El Assy+Howard Salmon+tri rini nuringtyas​ and +Giuseppe Petruzzella


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65 Responses

  1. What a heart warming and positive story +Ellie Kennard And a wonderful portrait that captures Stuart's gentle smile, the strength of character in his face and his quiet enjoyment of listening! (Really like the slightly warmer tone in the b&w – lovely!)

  2. Wonderful portrait! Those of us who have never suffered a hearing loss have no idea the difficulty those with a hearing impairment have in today's world. So glad he was able to get the cochlear implant! That hint of a smile just says it all.

  3. Thanks a lot +David McLachlan – I was looking forward to hearing what you thought about it. We went to his open house the other day and I showed the photograph to his wife (is it Avis?) and explained what I planned to write. She was happy with it and said he would be delighted. This was one of the ones I showed you on that day. I felt it needed a bit of a tone, so not 'strictly' black and white. But I preferred it. Didn't know you were on G+ so will add you to my circles now.

  4. +Thomas White – I can just imagine how difficult that would make a relationship. For both sides. I can see why this would have hit home with you.
    Thank you so much +Childa Santrucek I'm glad you like it.
    +Sandra Nesbit that is so true. Isolation because of disability is a terrible thing and those who bear it can often be examples to us of strength and courage. And hope, as you said. Thanks a lot
    +Diana Boyd thank you very much Diana. I was glad I caught that look

  5. Ellie, what a marvelous picture and story. Deafness can cause such isolation, partly because it gets tiring to try to engage when you know you're not really 'getting" what is being said. So, you end up with a lot of non-sequiturs and no little amount of embarrassment. Then there's Stuart who offers a lesson in hope and courage. So very very well done, Ellie. Thanks for posting this.


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