Ilene Myers


I first became interested in digital photography classes when they started digital photography classes here, at the Inglis House. I had never taken any photography classes before that. When I started the class, I didn't have a camera, so I directed the teacher how to take the picture that I was interested in. Then I got a digital camera for my birthday. I worked with the occupational therapist to find the set up that would be the most convenient for me to use.

Ilene Myers in Her Wheelchair with Her Camera
Ilene Myers with Camera

At first the therapist put on an extended apparatus but then found that it worked better if the camera is just mounted onto the tray I have connected on my wheelchair. We drilled several holes in the lap tray that is velcroed on to the arms of the wheelchair. I have a couple of screws and round discs that goes over the screws to hold it in place. I only use one screw and disc at a time, the others are just spares. I usually use the hole that is closest to my arm.

Close Up of Ilene Myer's Hand On the Camera
Close Up of Ilene Myer's Elbow On the Camera

I don't have use of my left arm. I have limited use of my right, which is slightly contracted. I can't raise up my arm very far, so when the camera is on my tray I can't really see the picture that I'm trying to take.

The camera screws onto my tray and then I have a blue piece of foam on top of the button that is pushed down to take the picture. I usually hit that button with my elbow to push the button down. I lift up my arm and then push down the button with my arm bent. I don't have a wide range that would allow me to move my arm out, so I would be able to see the picture in the camera if the camera is out to the side, wide enough. I can't get my arm out that far, so in order for me to be able to hit the button to take the picture I need the camera angled closer to me. When it is angled close to me I can't see the picture in the camera. I have to rely on somebody with me to tell me whether I have the subject centered in the picture. I have to use trial and error. Sometimes I find that I am too close to the subject of the picture or too far away to take the picture I want. I have to crop most of the pictures I take because I usually get part of my tray in the picture.

When things are at a certain height I have to tilt my chair back in order to get the subject in the picture. One example is when I had to tilt my chair back to get a picture of a painting that was mounted high on the wall. I was trying to take pictures of some of the other residents' artwork at the Inglis House. There is a hallway on the first floor wall that just has residents' artwork on it, which is referred to as the art gallery. Because I had to tilt my chair back and take a picture of each painting on an angle, I had to crop the picture and turn it around to get it to look straight. Still I found that I still needed to retake the pictures and a better angle to get the picture to look straight. I really enjoy taking pictures even though I have a degree of difficulty actually pushing down the button and in getting the subject centered. I don't mind re-taking the picture. I get satisfaction out of pushing down the button and knowing that I took the picture myself.

Three residents and a staff member play trivia in therapeutic recreation
Playing Trivia at Inglis House (c) 2008 Ilene Myers

Side view of Inglis House resident driving wheelchair
Billy (c) 2008 Ilene Myers

Ilene Myers is 48 years old and has been living at Inglis House for the past five years after a spinal cord injury 15 years ago when, at age 33, she was shot in the neck. At the time of her injury she was working as a customer service representative for Lower Bucks Cablevision. She is a graduate of Chestnut Hill College with a B.A. in politcal science.