My name is Phoebe Capewell and I’m form Birmingham. I’m a Photographer, Videographer, I’m profoundly deaf and I wear a cochlear implant in one ear. I can speak and I can sign as well. I’m choosing to speak to try build up my confidence.
The challenges I face in a daily basis is that when I meet new people. I’m speaking to them, having a full blown conversation and if I mishear what they’re saying or if I miss out on what they’re saying and if I’m really struggling, I’d tell them that I’m deaf. They’d just brush it like it’s nothing and just carry on.
I wish that people understood that the deaf community is so big and it’s not just people who are full of signers. It’s also full of people who can speak and they prefer to speak over sign which isn’t a problem. I choose to do both because I can sign and I can speak. The community is a lot bigger than what a lot of people think. There are so many disabilities out there, not everyone is the same. There are so many unique people and using that as an advantage is a great thing. Even for me I never liked defining myself as a deaf creative before. Up until now when I’ve worked with quite a few deaf creatives in the last couple of years and it’s made me realise – why should I hide who I truly am?
It’d be much easier if people understood that maybe a deaf photographer or videographer is deaf and they’d just need to have clear speech and just make sure that they’re not missing out on anything or important information. It’s just small things like that, it helps.
My advice to the creative industry is to stop comparing yourself to others. There are always going to be people that are much more skilled than you and they’ve been doing it for so many years. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t mean that your work is not as good as theirs. It’s good in your way.
Just because your deaf – it also doesn’t matter, it’s just your ears. That’s it. So don’t let your deafness stop you from what you can do.