Visually impaired student gets diploma in photography

2016-04-20 09:00
Donovan Botha (Supplied to News24)  

Donovan Botha (Supplied to News24)  

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Pretoria - Photography has the ability to take people on a journey of how the person behind the lens views the world around them.

But Donovan Botha, 22, who is visually impaired, is redefining the term “seeing the world through my eyes”.

He has completed a National Diploma in Visual Communication (photography) at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and has become the first ever visually impaired student to study at the department of visual communication.

He said it was not an easy road. “It was challenging, I’m not going to lie. I had fun while doing it but it was challenging like when the other students could see things on the materials [like] a line on a piece of clothing or dust.

"One of the challenges was that I couldn’t always see the finer details but eventually I started to pay more attention,” he said.

“The other difficult thing for me was getting from place to place. Because of my disability, I can’t actually drive but I found a way around it. I made it work and didn’t let it stop me.”

The words, “I can’t” just don't feature in Botha’s vocabulary.

Botha was born prematurely (two months too early) which badly affected his retinas. He has had several eye surgeries and currently has 50% sight in his right eye and only 25% in the left. After completing Grade 12 at the Prinshof School for the Visually Impaired, Botha was determined to study photography.

Build own studio

He said he became interested in photography when he found an old camera.

“My love for photography started when I was digging through one of my cupboards doing spring cleaning and came across this old film camera of mine which I got when I was like in Grade 3. I wanted to get more film for it but the film was no longer being manufactured and from there I just got myself a digital camera and it just grew,” he said.

Botha said his family and classmates were supportive of him getting his diploma.

“My family supported me a lot. They were the main pillar of my support system and friends as well. Everybody believed I could do it. In the beginning they [classmates] wanted to help me out with everything but I told them that if I need help, I would ask for it and I could do things on my own,” he said.

Botha will receive his diploma on May 10. He said he planned to build his own studio and capture people’s emotions in his photographs.

“I want to start my own thing, start a business and eventually build my own studio and have fun taking pictures,” he said.

Read more on:    tut  |  pretoria  |  education  |  good news

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