National Down's Syndrome charity backs Hurworth photographer's project

Darlington and Stockton Times: An example of James Hobson's work; pictured is Thomas Cullen, 18 An example of James Hobson's work; pictured is Thomas Cullen, 18

A PHOTOGRAPHY student who took inspiration from a friend with Down’s Syndrome has won the support of a national charity for his portrayal of the condition.

Middlesex University student James Hobson, of Hurworth, near Darlington, chose to photograph close friend David when asked to create a piece of coursework about his muse.

The 20-year-old said that many of his peers chose to photograph their partners - but he was inspired by his friendship with David.

Such has been the response that he now plans to broaden out his project  by photographing many more people with Down’s Syndrome to raise awareness of the condition - which has won the backing of the Down’s Syndrome Association.

This should lead to him exhibiting his work in September at the charity’s London headquarters, the Langdon Down Museum, which is the former home and institution of the Victorian physician Dr John Langdon Down who first classified the syndrome.

He said: “When you see pictures of Down’s people they are often portrayed as happy, smiling characters – which of course they absolutely are – but no one is like that all the time and I am trying to photograph them with the understanding that I have from knowing David so well.

“It isn’t all happiness and I really want to explore their emotions through my photography; people with Down’s Syndrome have exactly the same emotions as we have and I want to present them in a way that isn’t false.”

Since publicising his project online, Mr Hobson has received interest from parents of Down’s people from as far afield as America and Malaysia who are interested in taking part.

The degree work will be exhibited in June at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, London, but Mr Hobson fully intends to continue his project beyond then.

He said: “I’m hoping that the Langdon Down museum exhibition will include around 20 photographs; it goes far beyond my degree, this is a personal project that is probably going to be life-long, it isn’t something that is going to stop.”

Anybody who is interested and would like to be involved in the project can contact Mr Hobson via email at photo.jameshobson@gmail.com or telephone 07921 260055.

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