Seen & Heard: Brenda Schmidt

6 09 2016

Hearing Loss Association of American (HLAA) member Brenda Schmidt is our first Seen & Heard profile in the September/October 2016 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by HLAA. We’ve been Facebook friends for awhile but I finally got to meet and photograph her at HLAA Convention 2016 in Washington, D.C. this past June!

Join the Hearing Loss Association of America!
Do you have a hearing loss or know someone who does? Consider membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America. Student annual dues are $20, individual annual dues are $35, and family/couple annual dues are $45. Fees outside the U.S. are slightly higher. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

S&H Brenda Schmidt

BRENDA SCHMIDT / Naperville, Illinois / Born January 20 in Columbus, Ohio

I LEARNED ABOUT HLAA… I work in the field of education for individuals with hearing loss.

THE BEST THING ABOUT HLAA CONVENTIONS IS… being around people who are experiencing similar life challenges. We rarely find others in the same situation nearby.

MY HEARING LOSS… I was about four years old when my parents started questioning whether I had a hearing loss. I was diagnosed at the age of seven, which was back in 1970. The first sound I heard with my new hearing aid was my footsteps on the ground. I had so many questions—‘What’s that sound? What’s that sound?’ I still do this today. With each improvement in technology I am hearing sounds for the first time, even at my age. The last new sound I heard was a hummingbird in my garage. I thought, ’Oh that’s why they are called hummingbirds!’ I was amazed!

SAGE ADVICE… do not try to fake your way through situations where you are having a
hard time communicating. Be honest and let people know you need them to speak up, repeat or rephrase. It’s all about having a sense of humor about the situation.

A FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… I was a cashier at a local drugstore in my town. A lady came to the counter and said something and smiled. I responded with, ‘Yes it is, isn’t it?’ thinking she had said, “It’s a beautiful day outside.” She had a confused expression as she walked out, so I asked a colleague what  happened. The colleague told me she actually said, “You have such beautiful red hair!”

WHAT ACTOR WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE? I most identify with Lucille Ball because of her red hair and the predicaments she got herself in. I’m always finding myself in predicaments.

MY BEST VACATION EVER WAS… Cancun and swimming with the dolphins.

SOMEONE REALLY NEEDS TO DESIGN A BETTER… captioning service for cell phones that can be used at any time. I wish there was an app or device that could take spoken language and put it into print, accurately and in real-time.

I RECENTLY LEARNED… how to make infographics. All technology fascinates me.

THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… was say goodbye to my father, who passed away last December.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… am a talented memorizer of names of people and phone numbers.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… Cheetos.

I COLLECT… dust bunnies.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO OVER? I would probably do my high school career over and try even harder than I did with the hearing loss challenges I faced. I would be more of a self-advocate for my needs.

FIVE PLACES I HAVE LIVED… Ohio, Texas, California, Illinois, and Michigan

FIVE JOBS I HAVE HAD… specialized children’s shoe fitter, drugstore clerk, pharmacy technician, teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, and special education administrator

I AM… positive, cheerful, and optimistic.

MY FRIENDS WOULD SAY I AM… warm, a good listener, and empathetic.

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD IS… my Bluetooth streamer for my hearing aids.

NAME SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOME THAT YOU ARE SURE MOST PEOPLE DON’T… ghost hunting paraphernalia

MY THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS ARE… my animals, my hearing aids, and my comfy pajamas.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE… I am famous for messing up quotes and making my own. One of them is, ‘You are walking on thin eggs.’

EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS? Minnie Pearl, Charlie Daniels, and Lloyd Bridges

I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED… as a kind person who was considerate of others.

MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… is overcoming challenges with hearing loss
and showing the world I can’t be stopped by that barrier.

I love articles in Hearing Loss Magazine about access to communication
for people with hearing loss. I wish there was more info for us!

 

Advertisements




Senthil Srinivasan: Opening Up

15 11 2011

Senthil Srinivasan is our cover feature for the November/December 2011 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). I met Senthil online after discovering his website, Outerchat, and asked him if he would be interested in being profiled for the magazine. Three years later, he has written an article for the magazine. He flew from Milwaukee to Northern Virginia in mid-September so I could photograph him for the publication.

Since he was a guest in our home during his stay, I got to play tour guide. This was his first visit to the Washington, D.C. area. Immediately after I picked him up at the airport Friday morning, we did what I call “drive-by sightseeing” in downtown D.C. and he even got to see the smallest house in Old Towne Alexandria (shown at right) and possibly the U.S. The house measures just 7 feet wide and 36 feet long—a mere 350 square feet total! Learn more about this tiny house here.

We spent the rest of the afternoon touring Mount Vernon. The next day, Michael, Senthil and I attended the Walk4Hearing kick-off brunch at Clyde’s in D.C., which just happened to be taking place the weekend he was visiting! He had already met some of the HLAA staff at the Milwaukee Convention in 2010, so there were some familiar faces in the room. After a delicious brunch, we did some more “drive-by sightseeing,” with Senthil jumping out at various sites to get some quick snapshots. Some stops included the U.S. Capitol, the White House, Ford’s Theatre, the house where Lincoln died, and the Washington Monument.

Afterward, Senthil, Michael and I had the opportunity to see the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial for the first time. What a sobering but beautiful tribute to the lives lost that day. I will share some of my photos of the memorial in a future post. On Sunday morning, Senthil and I did the cover session by the Potomac River in Old Towne, Alexandria. I did the interior shots in my studio later that evening. On Monday morning, Michael dropped him off in D.C. so tour a few of the Smithsonian museums and do some solo sightseeing for the day before he headed back to Wisconsin in the late afternoon. It was a whirlwind visit and we accomplished quite a bit!

Senthil Srinivasan: Opening Up

The author (36) shares his personal story. Read about his journey to opening up about his hearing loss and finally realizing he is not alone.

I was born with bilateral, mild-to-moderate hearing loss. With the exception of early childhood, I grew up around hearing people. My first four years of school were in special education classes with students with various degrees of hearing loss. In fourth grade, I was integrated into regular classes with hearing students. It was not easy being the only kid with a hearing loss. I started to shy away from other students to avoid teasing and bullying, of which I had my fair share. When I attended the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee for my degree in graphic design, I focused mainly on studies. My lack of socialization didn’t bother me much. Once I graduated, I shifted my focus to building a career. Then there came a point when I started longing for friends, and even wanted to date someone. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any success. With not having a lot of friends at work or outside, I was looking for an answer. It got to the point where I was starting to hate myself.

My Hearing Loss Journey
My journey started when my parents and sister were vacationing in the Wisconsin Dells tourist area. They were in the Storybook Gardens, and an angel asked my sister for a wish. She wanted a baby brother. My parents were so touched by her wish that they brought me into this world. I was born three weeks ahead of schedule, fully developed but weighing just four-and-a-half pounds. However, I was also born hard of hearing. At the time, newborn infants were not tested for hearing loss, so nobody knew that I had a hearing loss for several years. (Right: Senthil and his sister Sheila)

I was a happy child and everything seemed normal to my parents for a few years. But, when I didn’t talk even at two years old, they became concerned. Others reassured them that some boys develop speech a little later than usual, and so they shouldn’t worry too much. Even so, my parents took me to the Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee for an evaluation.

After a half-day of evaluation, the doctors concluded that I was hyperactive, and at their suggestion, I was enrolled in a special class for young children with developmental needs. As far as I was concerned, I was just happy to go on the little school bus and get all the attention at school. Little did I know that I wasn’t hearing everything; my residual hearing fooled everybody! I used to say ‘oopa’ with much excitement when the school bus came to our house to pick me up, and my parents couldn’t figure out that what I was trying to say was ‘school bus.’

Fortunately, a breakthrough came when I visited India with my family a year later. My uncle took me to an excellent ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist and had him test me. The ENT just played with me, asked me questions, and mostly observed my responses. After his evaluation, he told my family that he strongly believed I had a hearing loss and recommended that we see an audiologist when we returned to the United States. Sure enough, proper auditory testing revealed that I had a bilateral, mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Right away, I was fitted with hearing aids. My mother told me that my face lit up the first time I wore them. She had never seen that look on my face and was happy to see such a big smile. I felt fortunate to hear many of the sounds a person with normal hearing would hear.

Education Challenges
I was placed in a special program for deaf and hard of hearing children at Lowell Elementary School in Waukesha, Wisconsin. By then, I had lost about four years of hearing and language development, and was playing catch-up with my peers. The teachers at Lowell School were wonderful and I was just happy to finally hear and understand everything.

Every morning I would arrive early at school, put on a box with a transmitter and receiver, and then play with the school-supplied building blocks. The memory is so vivid that I can still see the sun rising as I stacked the blocks as high as possible before watching them come tumbling down. It was a special moment in my life as I began my journey in the hearing loss world. I believe this memory is the perfect metaphor for how hard I’ve been working to stand tall and never give up, even when it seems everything is tumbling down around me.

My years at Lowell Elementary School were the best times of my childhood. Thinking back, I suspect it was because I was with other deaf and hard of hearing students, and there was no one to make fun of me. Outside of school, not too many people knew that I had a hearing loss since my mom kept my hair long on the sides to cover my hearing aids. For many years after that I continued to hide my hearing loss but later I changed my hairstyle to be shorter. Looking at my old pictures, I ask myself, What was I thinking?!

When I reached fourth grade, the special education board decided that I was ready to join regular school with a few sessions of speech therapy. Since our house was closer to a different elementary and middle school, I had to leave all my friends and start over in the new school with hearing students. Making friends became much more challenging, and I kept most of my problems to myself, rarely going to my teachers or parents about them. I think this molded my adult life.

Some of my experiences at middle school, high school, and college included:

• On orientation day with the regular class, a teacher accompanied me in a group of hearing kids. I remember feeling anxious and nearly passing out, but I didn’t tell anyone about the incident, not even my parents.

• When I started middle school, one of my classmates asked me to sit with him during lunch. He was sitting at a cool table with popular kids. However, when I joined the group, the girls at the table gave me that look as if I didn’t belong there. Seeing their faces made me feel like an outsider, and I never sat at that table again.

• I took a band class in middle school because I loved playing drums. My drum teacher was very supportive of me, but other drummers used to tease me a lot during the class. If I messed up, they would giggle among themselves. I remember that a red-headed girl, who was the only girl playing the drums, would always pretend to like me by flirting and making facial expressions. When I moved away, the others would laugh with her. Eventually I dropped out of band just to avoid being teased.

• During high school, I became extremely shy and avoided any attempt at making friends. I was afraid of being teased and hurt even more. I spent most Friday nights with my parents rather than going to parties or other social outings.

• My days at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee were fine since I was dealing with more mature students, and I had a lot of support from the University. I didn’t have much time to think of anything except studying hard and getting a good job. I graduated with a high GPA and even got a full-time job before my graduation! As I said earlier, my primary goal in college and in my career was work, not friends and fun—although I had to work much harder than hearing people to compete in the workforce.

As a result of these experiences, I had trouble socializing in my adult life, and ran into several communication barriers when it came to meeting people and making friends. Although I can hear almost everything with my hearing aids, I still struggle to understand what everyone is saying, especially with background noise. There were times when people would talk to me using their low voices and I would nod along, even though I couldn’t catch all the words. And it was frustrating to constantly ask people to repeat themselves.

Seeking and Getting Help Lifting the Communication Barriers
When I attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UMW) in the late 1990s, I was eligible to receive DVR (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation) funding. They helped cover the cost for hearing aids, tuition, and services provided at UMW. I found UWM’s services beneficial, especially note takers—students who UWM hired to take notes during lectures for me. Even with my hearing aids, sometimes I struggled to take notes while listening to professors, and note takers helped me keep up with the classes. I also knew some deaf and hard of hearing students who used sign language interpreters. That was more than 10 years ago, and I’m sure even more services are being offered in schools today thanks to advances in technology and expertise. I accomplished a lot more in my life than my parents ever imagined. My mother told me that she doubted I would ever learn to speak or understand people. She even thought I might not get to graduate from college someday. Fortunately, hearing aids, speech therapy, and hard work have gotten me to where I am today. As the school years went on, I got out of the special education classes and became fully mainstreamed into classrooms with hearing students. I graduated from college and secured a full-time job as a web designer.

I was not happy with the way I looked back in high school and college, and I have come to realize that the hearing aids were a major reason why I was and still am so isolated from the outside world. There were also other reasons that played a big role, such as my shyness and not having an outgoing personality. Rather than analyzing the past each and every day, I have decided to open up and share my life experiences and the path that led me to where I am today.

Reaching Out to Others Through Blogs
In 2008, I started an online forum as a way of getting out of my shell and reaching out to others. From that day, my life started to change. My first posting explained my reason for starting the blog: to express my thoughts, feelings, and tell stories about my hearing loss, with hopes of creating an interactive forum to benefit everyone. I learned more about how the Internet-driven world, especially social networks, could be used to connect people with hearing loss. When I created a group in Facebook including a link to my website, it attracted more members to DeafandHOH.com and encouraged them to share their experiences and struggles.

I was so excited, I started two more websites: one for blogs (www.OuterChat.com) and one for a hearing loss forum (www.OuterDialog.com). I wrote more than 100 posts, and it became the journey of my life! It felt good to let out my feelings after all these years. After reading other people’s responses to my postings, I learned that I wasn’t the only one in this world struggling with hearing loss. As the discussions grew in the forum, people started asking for places where they could meet and chat with others. I began Open Chat Night. Some inspiring moments from the chat:

• A 10-year-old girl, accompanied by her mother, needed to vent her feelings for not having friends at school. That really touched my heart and reminded me of how I felt in school. Listening to other people who had gone through similar experiences helped her to feel not so alone, and she realized that she didn’t have to let these setbacks limit her.

• A young man from Iowa who couldn’t afford a computer would make trips to the local library, using their computers to talk with the other Open Chat Night members until closing time,

• A deaf teenage girl from Canada with cerebral palsy comes regularly to our sessions. The chat means the world to her; she tries not to miss a single session and always informs us if she can’t make it.

• One time a person from Egypt came to the chat in spite of the time difference!

I truly had no idea when I started this venture that it would have such a positive impact on so many lives! I have about 300 subscribers and the Facebook group is slowly expanding with more members as well. I have taken steps to actively get involved in the community, such as the Milwaukee Walk4Hearing and the HLAA Chapter meetings in the Milwaukee/Racine area. I am also getting tremendous support from a few people at work, when before I would not have allowed myself to make any friends there. (Above: Sentil with his family at a wedding in New York this past September. Left to right: nephew Nathan, father Nallaswamy, mother Lakshmi, niece Anika, sister Sheila and her husband Mike.)

At some point, most of us have allowed hearing loss to become a roadblock to enjoying life to the fullest. One of the most important roadblocks is communication. Communication is a crucial part of our daily lives and it can affect relationships with family and friends. It can affect your communication skills with co-workers on the job, and even your grades. I am sure many of us with hearing loss have dealt with at least one of these communication roadblocks, each of which leads to endless problems for the present and future. We have to keep finding ways to integrate solutions to these barriers. The use of hearing aids, cochlear implants, assistive listening devices, captioning, and loop systems help us to become a part of society where we can more easily communicate with others.

I am always saddened and surprised to hear about people who have gone through so many years of dealing with hearing loss without using the technology that would change their entire life instantly. We need to advocate more strongly for the supply of technological information to these people.

The Journey Continues
Using the Internet really helped me to open up, share my experiences, and reach out to others. I am slowly becoming more social and getting out of the house more than ever before. Rather than curling up in a ball and quitting, I will continue to reach out to people. It makes me feel good about myself to contribute and help others. Over the past several years, I’ve learned that I’m not the only person in this world facing these challenges. That’s what I want everyone to realize when they join this community; they’ve become a part of a group where everyone cares about you and will support who you are. Just remember—you’re not alone.

Giving up is not part of my vocabulary. I have learned that you must like yourself for other people to like you, so I will continue to move forward with my goals and stay positive about myself. I know good things and people are all around me. I can’t wait to experience whatever comes next!

Senthil Srinivasan lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and for the past six years has worked as a web designer for PowerSports Network in Sussex, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. You can read his blog at OuterChat.com.





New Photoshop collages for Hearing Loss Magazine

23 02 2011

Just added some new collages to my layout archives from the Hearing Loss Magazine

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Hearing Loss Magazine: 2010 Recap

12 01 2011

The first issue in 2011 of the Hearing Loss Magazine (HLM), published by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), just arrived in member mailboxes this week. I design the bimonthly magazine and provide photography services. Reflecting back on 2010, I photographed Charles Mokotoff, a classical guitarist and IT specialist from Maryland; Lois Johnson, a former librarian and now the state director of the Texas State Office of the HLAA Chapter in Houston; Jennifer Thorpe, a wife, mother of five, avid blogger and hearing loss advocate from Tennessee; Craig and Lisa Yantiss, and their young son, Anthony, from Virginia; and Lisa Fuller Seward, a missionary back in the states from an assignment in Mali. These cover subjects are in the links below. To view the corresponding pdf links, click on the link, then on the same link again in the next window. The pdf should begin to download and open automatically.

January/February 2010: Classical guitarist Charles Mokotoff was our cover subject in A Life in Music, an interview by HLM editor Barbara Kelley. At age 15 Charles experienced sudden onset of hearing loss in both ears, leaving him with a severe-to-profound loss. Medical intervention was unsuccessful, and he was “given one hearing aid and sent off into the world.” Charles graduated cum laude from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in music, concentrating on classical guitar. He continued on to Ithaca College where he received a master’s degree. He was hired to teach music at Ithaca College and began a career with impressive highlights—one being his Carnegie Hall debut in 1987. In 1992 he set the guitar career aside and began his IT career, leading to his current post at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sixteen years later, he felt the urge to play again and now balances an active life of performing with his job at NIH. On a personal note, he graciously performed at our first annual Tapas Party last November and was an instant hit with our guests! Read my post about Charles’ cover debut here. You can download and read his article by clicking here: Charles Mokotoff HLM Feature. Visit www.charlesmokotoff.com to listen to his music, watch videos, and see a list of upcoming recitals. His CD is available on CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/charlesmokotoff Also in this issue: Hearing Health for Young Musicians—Embracing the Concept Early by Catherine V. Palmer; The Third Year: Personal FM Systems and Adults by Mark Ross; Hearing Loops Conference in Zurich by David G. Myers; Hearing Loss—The Price of War by Stephen O. Frazier; and Ascending from Deafness, by Karen Moulder

March/April 2010: The 2010 HLAA Convention in Milwaukee was the cover focus for this issue. Also in this issue: Hearing with Our Brain: Karen’s Journey Back to the World of Sound by Barbara Liss Chertok; Adam Mednick: Noted Neurologist with Profound Hearing Loss by Manny Strumpf; I Just Got Hearing Aids…Is That All There Is? by Mark Ross; Changing Lives in the Developing World by Paige Stringer; They Can Change a Life—A Message to the Pros by Colin Cantlie and Joe Gordon; and Compound Grief and Hearing Loss by Marc F. Zola

May/June 2010: HLAA member Ettalois (Lois) Johnson graced this month’s cover with her article, A Journey into the World of Hearing Loss. For more than 20 years Lois has suffered from Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance. She was diagnosed at age 38, after having migraines, vertigo and tinnitus. Less than six months later, the hearing in one ear had greatly diminished. Ten years later, the hearing in her “good” ear also had deteriorated to the point that she decided to pursue a cochlear implant. She became actively involved with her local HLAA chapter in Houston and attended her first HLAA convention in 1991. She hasn’t missed an HLAA convention since! Also in this issue: Hurricanes and Hearing Loss: Surviving the Storm by Lise Hamlin; Stigma and Hearing Loss—The Lowdown by Mark Ross; Invisible No More by Michael Eury; Getting Her Life Back—This Could be Your Story by Barbara Kelley; Let’s Hear it from the (Walk4Hearing) Teams: How Alliance Groups Work by Ronnie Adler and Rebecca Lander; and The Color of Quiet by Mary McCallister. Read my post about Lois on my blog here.

July/August 2010: HLAA member Jennifer Thorpe and her family (husband Dicky, son Will, and four daughters—Katie, Rachel, Claire and Ellie) graced this month’s cover. Jen wrote I Am Simply Me, sharing how hearing loss affects the family dynamic. Jennifer lost most of her hearing around age four and now has two cochlear implants. Also in this issue: Hearing Loss is Not Just About Me by Cathy Kooser; Let’s Hear from the Families by Barbara Kelley; Employment and Equal Access: A Success Story by Lise Hamlin; What’s On Your Mind? A Question for the Psychologist by Michael A. Harvey; and My Dad, the Ford Man by Tom Hedstrom. Read my post about Jennifer and her family here.

September/October 2010: This issue focused on children with hearing loss, featuring Craig Yantiss and his son Anthony. Anthony’s mother, Lisa, shared her story with Barbara Kelley in We Thought the Test Was Wrong. Anthony failed the newborn hearing screening twice and was later diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears. He wears a hearing aid and has a cochlear implant. Also in this issue: About Maya: A Daughter Born with Hearing Loss by Robyn Bittner; Moving from Grief to Warrior Mode by Christina Marmor; The Early “Big Bang”—A Guide for Parents from a Parent by Marcia Finisdore; Convention 2010 in Milwaukee…Inspiring! by Nancy Macklin; Cell Phones Age into Hearing Aid Compatibility by Lise Hamlin; Hearing Aid Features: A Closer Look by Mark Ross; and The Boy Who Did a Good Deed by AJ Traub. Read my post about this issue here.

November/December 2010: The final issue of 2010 featured HLAA member Lisa Fuller Seward and her article, A Missionary’s Life, chronicling her adventure with hearing loss through the “Dark Continent.” In 2008 she “went from being a healthy 41-year-old wife and mother, living overseas and loving serving my family and God to being sick, then hospitalized, then deaf—permanently.” After a bout with malaria (very common in the area and not her first experience with it), the new medicine she was on caused her kidney function to elevate. She was then given an antibiotic that was ototoxic (toxic to the hearing system), and because of her kidney problems, it had a catastrophic effect on her cochlea. The dosage she was told to take was four times the amount usually prescribed. She was deaf for six months before pursuing a cochlear implant back in the U.S. Her first implant surgery was in September 2008. She now has two cochlear implants. Also in this issue: We Move Forward When We’re Ready by musician Richard Reed; The Sounds of Music—Strategies for Improving Music Appreciation with a Cochlear Implant by Donna L. Sorkin; Choosing and Using a Cell Phone with Your Hearing Aid or Cochlear Implant by Lise Hamlin; Convention 2011—A Capital Experience by Nancy Macklin; The Hearing Healthcare Professional—The Key Factors in Determining Successful Use of a Hearing Aid by Mark Ross; Purchasing a Hearing Aid—A Consumer Checklist; and From Invisible to Invincible by Shifra Shaulson. Check out my post about Lisa here. Download Lisa’s article in pdf format by clicking the link here: LisaFullerSeward.

Do you have a hearing loss or know someone who does? Consider membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America. Student annual dues are $20, individual annual dues are $35, and family/couple annual dues are $45. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, Costco membership, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.





HLM Cover Feature: Guitarist Charles Mokotoff

12 01 2010

The January/February 2010 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), is in the mail to members this week. Classical guitarist Charles Mokotoff is our cover feature.

The original cover I had done earlier just wasn’t doing it for me…so I went through all the photos I’ve shot of Charles since March to see if any of them really popped. This one was originally shot horizontally, so I tilted it in Photoshop and filled in the gaps with the background to form this vertical cover image. Now this is a cover! I love the movement blur on his hand at the neck of the guitar. Purely unintentional—downright serendipitous! Bonus: You can even see his hearing aid—always a plus for a magazine focused on hearing loss.

I shot this issue’s cover when he played for the HLAA staff this past spring. I first profiled Charles on my blog in November here. I did some outdoor shots for the interior pages in mid-November, then went to hear him play and photograph him at a recital for the Friday Morning Music Club in the Old Town Hall in Fairfax, Virginia on November 19. Read that posting here. And finally, Charles was our well-received live entertainment at our first-ever Tapas Party on November 14. You can read about that party and see photos of the soiree in my posting here.

To learn more about Charles, visit his website here. Listen to sound clips here. You can order his CD, Autumn Elegy, from CD Baby or itunes.com.

Charles will be performing at two venues in March:
Central United Methodist Church
at 4201 Fairfax Drive in Arlington, Virginia on Friday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. He will perform a recital of solo guitar works by Scarlatti, Albeniz, Boccherini, Rak, Mozart and others, and will be accompanied by Barbara Cackler on piano. For more information, call 703.527.8844. (Free, goodwill offering accepted)

On Saturday, March 20, at 8:00 p.m., he will perform at the St. Albans Episcopal Church, 3001 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C. He will perform a recital of solo guitar works by Scarlatti, Albeniz, Boccherini, Rak, Mozart and others, with accompaniment by Sonya Sutton on the harpsichord. For more information, call 202.363.8286 or e-mail ericg@st-albans-parish.org. (Free, goodwill offering accepted).

You can download and read the article by clicking here: Charles Mokotoff HLM Feature





Photoshop collages

8 12 2009

All of the collages below were created in Photoshop, utilizing my own photos and/or purchased stock photos and vector artwork. Although I own countless volumes of Photodisc and Comstock CDs, I now purchase nearly all of my stock photos and vector art from sites such as www.istockphoto.com, www.bigstockphoto.com and vectorstock.com. I created all of these collages for feature articles from the Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America.

A Few Notes on Select Collages
Top row, right: Brenda Battat, now Executive Director of HLAA, wrote “Hydrangea Blue: Hearing Loss Through the Generations,” about growing up in England with her grandfather and their shared hearing loss, in the July/August 2006 issue of the magazine. In this collage, I scanned a handwritten notecard with her grandfather’s special recipe (shown for reference above) for keeping hydrangeas that coveted shade of blue and several family photos. Second row, left: HLAA member and board member Dave Crockett and his wife were featured in this collage. Third row, left: For her cover feature article, I photographed HLAA member Alexa Vasiliadis in a performance of The Nutcracker and in the dance studio; and right: For this high tech collage, I used various stock photos, but wanted to include representation of close-caption in use. Not finding a stock shot on the subject, I turned on my TV’s captioning feature during an interview with a country singer, froze the screen, and grabbed my camera to capture a few still shots—pretty resourceful, huh? Fifth row, left: I included a shot I did of HLAA members and sisters, Betty and Marjorie, with their sweet cat, Misha, in this scrapbook-inspired collage. Seventh row, left: I enlisted the help of my friend Regina for this series of facial closeups! Ninth row, left: For this collage, I used a stock photo I shot of HLAA member and volunteer Joan Kleinrock and her cochlear implant.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.