Meet the VI Photographer – Richard Burns-Wallace

We love stories of people with sight loss going beyond expectations, and one person who is certainly doing that is amateur photographer Richard Burns-Wallace.

Photography is a very visual way of putting information across so you may be wondering how someone with sight loss goes about doing this. Read on to find out.

Richard Burns-Wallace, who is based in Salford in Greater Manchester, has always been a keen photographer. Before losing his sight, he would go out cycling so that he could take photos. He lost his sight in 2017 as a result of a double brain hemorrhage caused by the terror attack at Manchester Arena. He now only has light perception but he still has a passion for photography.

“I like to challenge myself because people say that I can't do this or that because I am fully blind. I like to inspire people to never quit, never give up and always challenge yourself no matter what.”

Richard Burns-Wallace

What role does technology play?

Technology plays a big part in Richard’s ability to independently take photos. He uses an Android smartphone which he operates using Android’s built-in screen reader, TalkBack.

To take photos, he uses the Canon EOS 1300D, a digital camera which he controls using the Canon Camera Connect app so that he can independently adjust the camera settings and know when his camera is in focus.

He also uses apps designed specifically for people with sight loss, including Be My Eyes and TapTapSee. Through Be My Eyes, Richard can make a video call to a sighted volunteer who describes his surroundings so he knows what he is taking photos of.

With TapTapSee, he can take photos which are then analysed using artificial intelligence and TalkBack announces a description of the photo.

You can watch our Be My Eyes video and TapTapSee video to find out more about how these apps work and other ways they can be used.

What does he take photos of?

Richard enjoys taking photos of abandoned places, and he especially enjoys taking photos of nature. His favourite place to take photos is Drinkwater Park in Prestwich.

He prefers taking photos at night because it is easier on his eyes and he finds it easier for him to be out and about.

Why take photos?

Richard takes photos to prove to others that, despite losing his eyesight, he is still capable of the same things as sighted people.

He wants to inspire people to never quit and to always challenge yourself no matter what’s thrown at you.

He also takes photos to take his mind off losing his sight as it gives him something to concentrate on and it also relaxes him.

The hardest thing for him about losing his sight is no longer being able to see what his family and friends look like and losing his sight does get him down but through photography, he is able to take his mind off the impact of his sight loss.

If you want to find out more about Richard’s photography, you can check out his Instagram page.

You can also check out his YouTube channel where he posts videos regularly. A selection of his photos are below.

A woman dressed in black with blonde hair sat on a step in front of a cenotaph and surrounded by poppy memorials
A dramatic sky at sunset, ablaze with purples, pink and orange
A sky line at Salford Quays with the water in the foreground and the Imperial War Museum North in the background
A close up of a train track, with plants growing at the side

If you live in Greater Manchester and would like to find out more about how technology could transform your life if you have sight loss, visit our Digital Enablement Page to find out about the services we offer.

You can also check out our Knowledge Village, our online resource featuring blogs, videos and eBooks containing tips, tricks and tech for living with sight loss.

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Alice is the Digital Communications Officer and is responsible for producing blogs and EBooks for Henshaws Knowledge Village.