North West Wales

Blind photographer from Gwynedd captures beauty of Wales

Pwllheli Beach Image copyright Paul Jenkinson
Image caption Pwllheli beach

From Afon Dwyfor to the animals in the Welsh Mountain Zoo, Paul Jenkinson's pictures show his native north Wales in all its glory.

The images are all the more striking when you consider that Mr Jenkinson, 42, from Y Ffor, near Pwllheli in Gwynedd, is blind.

He suffers from panhypopituitarism, a condition which has left him with just 5-10% vision in his left eye and 50% in his right eye. He has no perception of 3D and is also colour-blind.

Nevertheless, he is a keen photographer who works hard to capture "the best shot I can".

Image copyright Paul Jenkinson
Image caption "The Look" - Mr Jenkinson's portrait of a tiger at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay
Image copyright Paul Jenkinson
Image caption Mr Jenkinson with his wife Angela, stepdaughter Rebecca (l) and daughter Katie

Mr Jenkinson, who was diagnosed at the age of 28, said doctors think the condition was caused by a piece of his skull not forming correctly in the womb.

This allowed fluid from his brain to squash his pituitary gland and his optic nerves.

"The last 10 years or so have been crushing, medically," he said.

"I was put on hormone therapy and have been taking steroids for 14 years but a side effect of that is that I now have osteoarthritis in both knees and hips."

Image copyright Paul Jenkinson
Image caption Afon Dwyfor
Image copyright Paul Jenkinson
Image caption A lar gibbon in the Welsh Mountain Zoo

An operation to try to correct his vision was not successful and temporarily left him with seizures. He has also suffered a "severe" aneurysm and 18 months ago, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

A former building control officer for Gwynedd council, Mr Jenkinson's health problems have meant he has not been able to work for a decade.

"I have had some very, very low days after my cancer diagnosis, even some suicidal moments," he said. "But my photography helps me cope.

"When you're concentrating on something, like how to get the best shot or where to set up your tripod, you're not thinking about your problems.

"I hope my story will help others in the same situation to know that there can be some light at the end of the tunnel, as I have found in my photography."

Image copyright Paul Jenkinson
Image caption Mr Jenkinson's home village of Y Ffor

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