Get in touch!

To participate in the See Me! photography project.

Please contact Niki Simpkin-Hill

Mob: 0274740532

Email: nicolasimpkinhill@gmail.com

See Me! Portrait photography project.

The “See me” Portrait photography is a project with a difference. It’s for members of the disability community over the age of 18 years and their significant support people (parents, carers, guardians, or partners). These portraits will highlight the special bond of humanity that is inherent in the success of persons with disabilities. As a photographer and a mother of a daughter with a physical disability and ADHD, my purpose is to create social identity and awareness for those with a physical disability in the community. Participants will be followed up on their stories which will be included alongside the portraits. Real-world stories of disability show how we are all more similar than different. The outcome will be an Exhibition and Photobook.

The See Me! portrait photography project acts as a seed for the larger concept of a SEE ME social art collaborative, which will activate disability awareness and drive social change by providing a platform for social identity and growing disability culture through the arts in Aotearoa/ NZ.

What is in it for participants?
Participants will receive digital copies of their photos and an invitation to the photobook launch and exhibition. The date and time of the exhibition are yet to be decided, however, if your portrait is part of the final selection, you will receive an unframed print of it to keep. A percentage of proceeds from photographic prints and photo books will go to the disability community.

Collaborate with me and help build a better future.

Contact: Nicola Simpkin-Hill

Email: nicolasimpkinhill@gmail.com

Phone: 0274740532

See Me!
Charlotte Buchanan

Charlotte is 22 and loves giving back to the animals in her community. She also lives with a disability due to a brain injury from a difficult Ventouse delivery. As a baby the excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) built up pressure on her brain, this condition known as Hydrocephalus. At the age of 4 years, she received lifesaving surgery to relieve the pressure by way of a Ventriculoperitoneal (VP)Shunt. At school, life was full of anxiety, due to fatigue and sensory overload issues. This included sensitivity to sound and too much activity, causing her to freeze up, even the smells of flowers can cause her eyes to burn.

She enjoys life these days as a volunteer through the RDNS (Royal District Nursing Service) ‘Living my life’ service, on Mondays with her support worker Kim, who helps at Dune Lakes Lodge. Her jobs include tidying up at the farm and in return, she participates in workshops on horse care while socializing with the other volunteers. She enjoys art classes midweek, managing one morning doing Paper Craft and one afternoon of Sewing with RAFT at Torbay, Auckland. In her spare time, she volunteers to help her mum Rebecca at North Shore Turtle and Reptile Rescue, currently with over forty in care at their home, including turtles, lizards, and a water dragon.

 Charlotte is also an avid “Trekkie”, twice weekly following the original seventy’s Star Trek series. She attended the Armageddon EXPO briefly (wearing noise-canceling headphones to protect her from sensory overload), with her sister Grace, together they had their photo taken with Star Trek actors. Charlotte even made her own Star Trek costume at sewing class to wear for the occasion. Being an animal lover, she has many pets including her rescue dog Luna, two cats, a leopard gecko named Maggie, and over forty birds, to keep her company at home.

Nicola Simpkin-Hill

See Me!
Thomas Pearce.

It was 5.30 am on the 2nd of July 1998 when we rushed Tommy - only 9 ½ months old at the time, to the hospital, discovering he was fighting for his life. A few days later, it was confirmed that Tommy had contracted pneumococcal meningitis.  

Statistics were not good.

Doctors were not sure he would survive.

There was not much hope.

But somewhere amongst the statistics and hopelessness, Tommy not only survived, but 25 years later, he is thriving.

 He survived for a reason. He is thriving for a reason. What was it?

My story is a story of struggle with my alternative parenting journey, burn-out, and burden, whilst trying to ‘fix’ my son, who I thought was broken. Fortunately, my story does not end there, 25 years later after searching the world for solutions to ‘fix’ my son, which was full of twists and turns,  ups and downs, and everything in between, I discovered the perfection in the un-fixed, the beauty in ‘what is’ and the gift within each challenge. I finally saw ‘the meningitis’ as a gift.

In contrast, Tommy’s story is one of hope, resilience, and discovery of his gift of communicating directly from his heart to your heart through intuitive card reading. He loves connecting and being present with others. He has also patiently waited for me to stop all my running around trying to ‘fix’‘ him and be still, take a breath in and out, and listen deeply to my inner whispers, my soul. From stilling myself, I have realized that Tommy also communicates with me heart-to-heart. Firstly, I needed to feel all my emotions, so that I could listen deeply to my soul.

The messages included:

Taking good care of myself so that I can ultimately take even better care of him.

I am perfect just the way I am, as he is.

Now, we are sharing our journey with others in the hope that they are also empowered to navigate their way back to their soul and ultimately, joy in life.

Tommy,

I see you, I hear you, I love you. Thank you for inspiring me.

Nicola Irvine

 

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