You are here

Deborah Norwood

Faces of Suffolk

Deborah Norwood

I began studying Adult Nursing at another university, but after catching glandular fever, my health went downhill and I became too poorly to carry on. Going to uni was something I had always wanted to do, so dropping out was a really hard decision to make.

It took ten years for me to get diagnosed with ME and fibromyalgia. It was a lot of going back and forth to the doctors. Everything hurt. I had no energy; I couldn’t wash my hair or brush my teeth. I was in constant pain.

When I was really poorly, my grandad bought me a little digital camera for my birthday. Him and my nan would take me out in a wheelchair and I would take pictures. It was something I could do that didn’t make me feel worse and it became about capturing the moments I was well enough to do things.

I fell in love with photography and I remember the day I found out I had got in to the University of Suffolk – me and my fiancé were jumping around the room! Coming to University was what I had been dreaming of during the five years where I was bed bound.

I love photographing the unseen and the abandoned. Deteriorated things, underneath bridges or looking up at buildings. It’s the unseen and the forgotten that interests me.

My advice would be to always listen to your body. If you can’t do a day, it’s alright. You can have a day where you are completely floored. It’s just about getting the support you need and getting back on track.

I have a lot of self-doubt – when you haven’t done anything for ten years because you’ve been stuck in one room, you lose a lot of confidence. I felt like the ill daughter in the spare room. I felt like a burden. But with my family and fiancé being so supportive and saying yes you can do this, I’ve got my confidence back…and to think it all started from a little camera!

Related links