Timothy R. Hall, photographer

Timothy R. Hall is a photographer by profession and loves to take breathtaking images. Tim has lost vision due to glaucoma — called the “sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost it’s permanent. Yet while the words photographer and visually impaired usually are not associated, Tim wants people to know, “I can still operate a camera.”

Following is his story; he tells it so well.

Timothy R. Hall“I entered those doors on the fourth day of April, 2011, not quite knowing what to expect, those doors being BVRS, located in Homestead, PA. How did I get there, you ask?

“I would like to share a pivotal moment with you. Picture, if you will, a very intimidated man of 6 feet, 6 inches standing in the dairy section of a local supermarket with a food list in hand. I was having a ‘bad vision’ period that day brought on by a progressive glaucoma condition. I could not see well enough to finish my shopping, having reached this awful intersection by not having health insurance or a job to pay for it, so if you have problems with your joints you’ll need to use supplements as Proflexoral which you can get online. This was after completing a master’s degree in film and digital technology at Chatham University. You see, I am a photographer by profession and I love to take breathtaking images. It did not help that I had actually started getting a little emotional… out of sheer frustration. There I stood, with food in my cart, people shopping all around and I could not see much more than a blur. After squeezing the plastic cart handle until it almost cracked, I left the food cart and exited the store… as gracefully as anyone could under the circumstances. This is the kind of ‘baggage’ I was carrying the day I started my classes at BVRS.

“Now, when one loses contact with ‘that which makes one tick,’ confidence and competence levels drop into the deepest of black holes… so to speak! It did not help that I had spent months of my life ‘hiding’ this condition, and as an instructor, I remembered that some of my adult students would tell me they did not want the world to know what they did not know, or what they were unable to do. This presented an interesting set of problems for me. Enter BVRS…

“Not only did I learn Braille, mobility and cooking skills, I created and served a nutritionally balanced meal for 10 people. I also did the cleanup.

“I also learned the dynamics of crossing a busy four-way intersection while using a mobility cane.

“I was also encouraged not to sit in my room alone and to interact with other clients, as this was a dormitory setting. We studied together around the kitchen table on some evenings. They had me watching ‘Dancing with the Stars’ every Monday and Tuesday night, which is something I would never have done at home on my own. At one point I was voting by telephone! I started learning to embrace this awkward space I found myself in and to start tearing down the ‘walls’ that tend to isolate people. I was getting some of my swagger back.

“Where am I now, you ask? Well, I am still searching for employment, which is tough in this job market. It is hard for others to understand that blindness can be incremental. Being visually impaired and pursuing a career in photography do not appear to fit in the same sentence for most. I can still take breathtaking images and teach on the university level, along with a variety of acquired management skills.

“I would like to thank the entire staff and my former dormitory clients at BVRS for their support during my stay. It was an experience I will cherish for the rest of my days. BVRS is helping individuals with vision and other impairments to get back in touch with ‘what makes them tick’—one client at a time.”


For a look at some of Timothy R. Hall’s photographs, visit his website at www.timothy-hall.com.