A Photographer Who Sees Through Silence - “I executed the whole talk by communicating on my laptop. The audience wore earplugs and we communicated via texts, which were also shown on the big LED screen. I wanted them to experience what it feels like to be in my Deaf world. I’ve always needed a sign language interpreter to be my voice and ears. But today, I am my own voice”, recounted Isabelle Lim, a Deaf Photographer on a silent workshop she executed for Today@Apple in 2018.
Isabelle Lim started issyshoots, a photography company specialising in family portraits, maternity portraits, pre-wedding photography and events in Singapore. Her week is made up of photoshoots, editing, delivering images and meeting clients. Her commitment to her craft is evident. Even on days off, she researches all things photography.
Not only is she a photographer, Isabelle was also an integral part of “Signing Hands”, a ground-up music video that brought together artists with and without disabilities to inspire an inclusive society. Her cousin, Tham Yin May, transformed a poem she wrote into the lyrics of the song. The music video premiered recently at The Purple Parade Livestream concert on 31 October to great success. She wishes for people to realise that like her, people with disabilities have a voice.
An alumni and scholar from Lasalle College of the Arts as well as an alumni and inaugural recipient of the Dare to Dream scholarship, Isabelle shares that the transition from a deaf school to a mainstream school proved challenging. She was worried that she couldn’t cope with the lessons and hearing friends would be hard to come by. With this, she became more independent. Over time, she also built a strong support system. She tapped on a wonderful pool of interpreters and notetakers that made learning joyful. She also found a few good friends that she still keeps in touch with today.
This close support network also includes her parents. She was worried at first because she was on the path to an accounting career when she decided to make the switch. To her joy, her parents were fully supportive when she wanted to turn her passion for photography into a business after graduation.
For Isabelle, she sees her deafness as a strength in her photography. She explains that she doesn’t have to communicate much when taking photos. She makes use of the quiet to document events unfolding before her. She revels in the silence behind the camera, capturing moments to last a lifetime.
It’s her talent, hard work and the support from others that allows her to excel in all that she does. Now that’s a beautiful picture.
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