Kate Disher-Quill spent much of her school and professional life viewing her hearing loss as a weakness she was focused on hiding. It wasn’t until she read a magazine article in February 2014, that her perspective changed.
The article, about a woman with hearing loss , made her think her own story was one others might identify with, “Until that article, I’d never read anything where I was like, ‘that’s exactly what I feel like’,” she says.
She decided to post a photo of her hearing aid to Instagram. “It felt like I was ‘coming out’ for the first time about my hearing to people, most of whom didn’t actually know,” says Disher-Quill.
“It’s definitely a common thing for people to feel disconnected. Especially with deafness – people feel like they can’t communicate what it’s like. You feel more and more isolated.”
Disher-Quill has created Right Hear, Right Now after being awarded the 2014 Pool Grant, to help people understand experiences of hearing loss and deafness. “It’s about having a voice, coming out to the world,” she says.
A mixture of photography, multimedia and installation, Right Hear, Right Now focuses on the beauty of a different perspective, rather than being a didactic piece of photojournalism. Two films will be shown, one exploring sign language, and the other a silent film with speakers that vibrate when there should be sound.
“I’m creating something I would have wanted to see when I was younger, that could have helped me look at my hearing loss in a very different way.”
Right Hear, Right Now runs from May 4–10 at District 01 Gallery in Surry Hills as part of Head On Photo Festival.