Blind Photographer’s Vision: Tiffany Chartier
Tiffany Chartier is a young mother, an active church member, and a professional photographer. She also has a disease that is robbing her of her sight. But she has found a way to reach out to others with serious illness to capture the positives in their lives.
(Locator: Mansfield, Texas)
Tiffany Chartier: "I'm Tiffany Chartier. I am the student ministries director at the Community of Hope United Methodist Church in Mansfield, Texas. I am also a professional photographer.
"When I was fifteen years old, my fatherwentto the Retinal Foundation of the Southwest. There, they tested him for a degenerative hereditary eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. The doctor came in and he said, "Doug Winters, I need to tell you that yes, you do have retinitis pigmentosa, as well as your daughter." Retinitis pigmentosa starts by loss of night vision then slowly steals your peripheral vision, so eventually it will just be all closed. I have twenty-five percent peripheral left. So I am legally blind now.
"SGLY Photography is the name of my photography company, and that stands for "Smile, God loves you." Photography is a form of ministry for me. It always has been. One aspect is cancer shoots. And it is for people who are currently going though cancer treatment or survivors of cancer &ellipsis; to capture not their illness, but their courage."
Hank Wyatt: "My name is Hank Wyatt and this is my wife Jan. We met Tiffany at a United Methodist Church in Mansfield, Texas. I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer February 2010."
Jan Wyatt: "We thought before we start you know with the chemo and the radiation and all that kind of stuff, we want a picture of what our life is like now."
Hank Wyatt: "But I am so glad my grandkids will have a picture of me. Excuse me .(Hank cries) I'm through."
Jan Wyatt (laughing): "You're OK. You're OK. Here is the cool part. Whatever the doctor gives you, God gives us all one day at a time. Just one day at a time. And we've had a year. We've had a year."
Tiffany Chartier: "I teach my children to feel the world. Not to see it first, but to feel it first. (Speaks to daughter) Are you worried at all about me not being able to see you get married or help you pick out&ellipsis;?"
Izzy Chartier: "&ellipsis;wedding dress."
Tiffany Chartier: "Yea. That makes me sad."
Izzy Chartier: "Don't cry."
Tiffany Chartier: "I'm not going to."
Izzy Chartier: "Your eyes are so watery."
Tiffany Chartier: "It's OK."
Tiffany Chartier: "We had Holt tested for retinitis pigmentosa. He is my oldest son. Found out he has retinitis pigmentosa. I literally became my father in that moment, and understood the magnitude of helplessness."
"I don't want people to feel bad for me because I am losing my vision. And just because I have a visual challenge does not mean that I can't see Christ. Thankfully, God has shown me how to feel him in everything around me."
Posted: April 13, 2011