It is because of Johnny Corcoran’s success in business and his willingness to share his talent and expertise with other deaf people that he won the Hidden Hearing Heroes Workplace Award.
Held in association with the Irish Deaf Society, the awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of deaf and hard of hearing people in Ireland.
“Winning the award makes me feel proud of myself and knowing that I have made lots of people proud too is a positive feeling and it gives me confidence to keep moving forward with my business,” says Corcoran.
“ I am very grateful to everyone who voted for me, and would like to take this chance to say thanks,” he says.
While Corcoran enjoyed spending time with his friends at primary school in Beechpark Deaf School and at secondary in St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, he did not enjoy the academic life and left school before his Leaving Certificate. But he always had a good eye for art and photography, and won the Texaco art competitions in his age category a few times as a child.
He did a graphic design course at Roslyn Park College (the training and employment wing of the Rehab Group) after leaving school and, following his graduation, spent a decade in the industry working in a variety of businesses.
“However, it soon became obvious that, despite the best intentions of employers and clients, my deafness was becoming an issue. So much of the contact was over the phone, and using fax and e-mail seemed to slow the whole process down too much,” he says.
“It led to frustration for everyone and I became disheartened. I needed a new beginning, but just didn’t know what to do.”On the day he decided to search for a course to retrain in a different area, an opening in the Fetac certified photography course in Roslyn Park College came up.
“I learned a lot about the camera and studio light and I picked it up really quickly. I think it was because taking photographs and working with Photoshop is something I really enjoy,” he says. “I got my first wedding job a few weeks later from a family friend and it just grew from there, mostly through word of mouth.”
Working for himself suits him, says Corcoran. He can communicate with clients by e-mail, text and face-to-face, and he is confident that the quality of his work speaks for itself. “I do wedding and portrait photography mainly. I want to capture memories. I want people to get images from me that they are proud to display in their homes and that show them at their best,” he says.
Corcoran has run photography workshops for other deaf people who are interested in digital photography and arising out of that, he has set up the Deaf Photographers Club. It meets every couple of weeks, to exchange advice and tips about how to get the best from cameras.
Most recently, Corcoran worked as a volunteer with the Irish Deaf Society on its Signs of Life exhibition. He took the photos of 26 celebrities including Robbie Keane, Roddy Doyle and Andrea Corr using Irish Sign Language (ISL). They can be viewed at signsoflife.ie.
For other information on the Heroes awards se Hidden Hearing.