|07-12-2009, 07:04 AM||#1 (permalink)|
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Photographer honored as trailblazer in deaf community
2theadvocate.com | Features | Picture perfect — Baton Rouge, LA
Tate Tullier was 12 years old when he borrowed his mother Ida Tullier’s camera and began to take portraits of his younger cousin and friends. The St. Amant native said he was inspired by the ones he saw in magazines and desired to emulate them. So began what has evolved into a lucrative career as a professional photographer.
Tullier made the decision to follow his dream after graduating from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., in 2003. He briefly worked as a recruiter for the university before successfully pursuing a professional photography career in New York City.
This past Father’s Day, Tullier, who is deaf, was honored by Purple Communications, one of the nation’s leading providers of text and video relay and onsite interpreting services for the hearing impaired, as one of its “Dream Bigger” campaign’s 10 Trailblazers in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Trailblazers are “visionaries” who have broken down barriers and/or established new status quos to improve the overall quality of life for all members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
At the June 21 celebration at the Baton Rouge Marriott, Brandon Arthur with Purple Communications presented Tullier with a $1,000 donation to his chosen charity — the Louisiana School for the Deaf. But the school could receive $10,000 if Tullier is chosen as Trailblazer of the Year, which will be announced in Washington, D.C., this October. All he needs to do is garner the most votes.
As he explained in an e-mail, “It certainly is an honor to be chosen as one of Purple Communications’ 10 trailblazers in the deaf community … I tell people that I much prefer to be behind the scenes when it comes to my work, but the charity portion of this campaign was enough for me to get involved. I get a chance to donate $10,000 just because I have an awesome job. All of you locals — go vote for me and LSD’s kids for their after-school program at this link — Purple Communications -- Dream Bigger
So, how did this 31-year-old become a Trailblazer? We asked him that and more in an e-mail interview.
What kind of message do you hope this national recognition sends to both the hearing and deaf communities?“I definitely hope that my doing what I love as a career is enough of a dream for ANYONE to strive to accomplish their dreams. I say this over and over, ‘Once we stop dreaming, what’s the point of living?’ Life is too short, don’t let it all go by without trying to make your dream come true — whatever it is!”
You worked in New York City, why come back to Louisiana?“I was one of the millions who wanted to ‘become famous’ in the city. It was a wonderful, frustrating and humbling experience for me being there for only nine months. I quickly realized if I wanted to succeed quicker with my photography I needed to go where my heart was, and that was here in Louisiana. I love it here — it keeps me sane, and I can afford to invest more into my business being here. The local community has been wonderful to me and I can only hope for MORE business around here. NYC is still one of my favorite cities in this country and I try to return at least once a year. It’s fantastic.”
What sets your work apart from other photographers’?
Well, locally—- for sure — a large percentage of my subjects in my photos are deaf! I would say I hope that people who know my work can see my personality through my work whether it’s a portrait or a wedding snap. I’m fun, easygoing, and have a strong philosophy that we’re all here today as part of a huge canvas — and we just need to continue creating to keep it striving!
Where you born deaf? I see a photo of you as a young boy with hearing aids on your Web page — do you have some hearing capacity?
“Yes, I was born deaf and, no, I cannot hear one sound at all. I love seeing that photo of me with the aids on because it’s just ironic — they don’t work! Never did. That was in the stages where I guess the parents/school system were testing my ears out to make sure I didn’t have any residual hearing. I have never heard a sound in my life.”
Does being deaf make you a better photographer?“I think it has pushed me to be who I am today, and that’s a photographer. That conversation always comes up in my circles of deaf friends. We’re like, ‘If we were hearing, would we even be doing what we’re doing today?’ I have no idea!
“I like to say it does amplify my eyes to catch things at weddings because my eyes are running all over the place all night to make sure I DON’T miss anything! I definitely can say I am proud to be deaf and I’m so fortunate that being deaf has enabled me to meet so many wonderful people from all around the world! If I were hearing, that most likely would have never happened.”
What do you most like to photograph and why?“I definitely love photographing people, and I’d probably say portraits in general that can either capture the individual’s soul OR the polar opposite — help create another persona for that person to be presented as in my photographs. This past year, I’ve been fortunate to have an influx of seniors come to me to do their photos. Those have been tons of fun. It keeps my blood running fast and it excites me to create fun and interesting images.”
Any interesting (funny or poignant) wedding photo tales you can share?“I definitely have a couple stories to tell but I think one interesting thing is when I book a wedding gig with hearing clients who I don’t even know. I love the fact that those clients love my work enough to hire a deaf photographer instead of easily hiring someone hearing locally. That itself is a testament that people really value my eye and what I can offer them as a photographer — hearing or deaf. It’s definitely a funny thought that runs through my head every time I get hired by strangers and I always try to figure out if they EVEN know I’m deaf to begin with.”
I see from your Web site that you are married. When/how did you meet your wife?“I met my wife in 1996 through a summer camp where she was working at the Louisiana School for the Deaf. We became instant friends and started dating a few years later. We have been together for almost 11 years and married for five out of those. Her name is Sarah DesHotels Tullier (she is also deaf), and she grew up in Baton Rouge.”
Any children or plans to have them?“
We do not have children, but two pets — SoHo, a dog we got in New York when we lived there in 2005, and NoLa, a cat we adopted from a local vet last summer. People tease us and ask us if we’re going to name our human kids after places/cities! We do envision having a child one day.”
To vote for Tate Tullier as Trailblazer of the Year, go to the link Purple Communications -- Dream Bigger. The deadline for voting is midnight Oct. 10.
"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
- Helen Keller
|07-12-2009, 01:32 PM||#2 (permalink)|
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Way to go Tate! I am proud of you. He did a portrait of my friend and I while we were both students at Galy. Unfortunately, I lost them.
He is a good guy and his wife is sweet too. I hope he wins!
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