Assignment 2- Therapeutic Photography

"Therapeutic Photography techniques are photographic practices done by people themselves (or helpers) in situations where the skills of a trained therapist or counselor are not needed, where photos are used to increase their own self-knowledge and awareness, improve family and other relationships, activate positive social change and reduce social exclusion, assist rehabilitation, strengthen communities, deepen intercultural relations, reduce conflict, bring attention to issues of social injustice, sharpen visual literacy skills, enhance education, promote well-being, expand qualitative research and prevention methodologies, and produce other kinds of photo-based healing and learning." Judy Weiser

Look Me In The Eye 

Photographer                    Photographed
Richard Grassick               Steve Burns

 "You know. I don't need any help, I don't need patronising, I can do a lot for myself. Right at the very beginning. People hear that and then if people step over that mark you just say I don't need a hand, I'm okay. So you tend to right from day one let them know what you can and what you can't do. You obviously can't go through everything but you let them know that you're quite capable of doing the majority of things." Steve Burns


Book Report


No: 2 


Amber.(2011)Look Me in the Eye. Available: Last accessed 15/04/2011.

Why did you choose this text?  Why do you consider it a vital read?

The images taken by photographer Richard Grassick are really stunning, with the addition of personal commentary from paraplegic Steve Burns, create a very informative account of his life with a disability.


What is the main proposition, philosophy, or purpose of the text?  Does it state a clear hypothesis or argument?

Richard Grassick as part of Amber's Current Affairs Unit, took part in a collaborative project with Steve, campaigning to change attitudes to disability in North Shields 1988. Steve doesn’t want to be patronized or sympathised with, he wants to be treated as an individual, a human being, not an abnormality.


What does the text expect the reader to do?

The exhibition shows Steve at work and play and tries to illustrate his infectious courage and humour.’ Look Me In The Eye’ is a collaborative exhibition where Steve has been involved from the start in both image and text. The reader is expected to be informed about Steve’s insights and the images of his daily life as a person with a disability.

How does the text sit in terms of other authors and a general sense of the debate?  Is it a part of a discourse? 

The works featured can exist within a therapeutic photography and documentary context. The questions being asked are part of current social and political l debates. For photographer Richard Grassick, ‘Look me in the eye’  is a continuation and expansion of his other projects

Comment on a particular element of the text you find of interest.  Could it lead to a visit or contact with a person?

Steve: ”I’ve played pool and I’ve beaten people and they’ve gone away and I’ve heard them say: ‘Bloody hell! Getting beaten by a gimp!’ Because you’ve got a disability, you shouldn’t be beating an able-bodied person. It’s their pride, like they can’t stand being beaten by a woman either.”

Steve deals with abusive and rude comments based on his disability, which he reflects on. I imagine that through his writings, he is able to recount both painful and meaningful events to hopefully heal from the experience. I believe he has developed great strength and would be interesting to interview.

Richard Grassick has extensive photographic experience, which would be worth meeting him to discuss.

 Is there anything you think the text has missed out on or has not donewell?

I think the images and commentary are done well, but certain pictures do lack text which I believe complement the images well.

Can you identify what you are going to read next?

I would like to look at more work from Richard Grassick, including: Unclear Family: Solo Show, People of the Hills and Stepping Up.

Where did you get the book?

This is an internet resource-

Amber.(2011)Look Me in the Eye. Available: Last accessed 15/04/2011.


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