The next time I visited Dinara, we tried to recreate the photograph where she has written her name, but somehow I could not get a decent composition. It was an overcast day and the light was poor as well. I don’t like working with flash since it creates ugly shadows and is tiring and distracting for the subjects. Another issue with flash photography is that it can cause seizures, and since people with CP are prone to seizures, strobe lighting is out of the question.
I’m really not sure about this frame, and I’m going to have to see how the image looks within the narrative structure with other images.
Dinara also showed me a newspaper article that was written when she was very young. The article speaks about how Dinara learned to draw with her feet. I have not read it in detail yet, but it makes a nice textual addition to the narrative. Coupling this with her embroidery and hopefully photographs of her exhibition will be a good strategy to show how Dinara is resourceful in coping with her impairment. While we were packing up, Dinara had a call from a friend inviting her out, and once again I asked if I could tag along. Her friend Guzelya and her boyfriend Rinat came and picked Dinara up, and we went to a bar to relax.
The mood is very different from when we went shopping with mum! Getting out with friends helps Dinara to relax and feel like she belongs, like she is reclaiming a sense of normalcy that is otherwise denied her.
Immediately after I took the shot of Dinara being fed, I knew that I would not use it. Having read testimony from persons with disabilities, the sense of having to rely on others is one of the worst aspects of physical impairment. It is also not very aesthetically pleasing to see others eating. It was really difficult to get shots in since I didn’t want to be too intrusive with the camera, the seating positions meant that at times the background was distracting, and to top it all I wanted shots where Dinara was interacting with the others and her expression was relaxed or engaged. Anyone who has worked with people with disabilities knows the difficulty of getting the shot right. Dinara herself told me that she knows how difficult it is.
After a couple of drinks, the lights went down and a band started playing. Dinara decided that she wanted to dance. Although these shots capture the atmosphere and show Dinara enjoying herself and engaging in normal Saturday night activities, I’m not sure that she will approve of the pictures herself since she is very fussy about how she appears in photographs (she does not like pictures where she’s smiling because she says it looks like her eyes are closed). Since I have agreed that I will not publish any images that my subjects do not agree with, I have to respect that promise and consult with Dinara on which images to use in the final project.