Blind photographers hope exhibit of work will shatter stereotypes

WINNIPEG -- When amateur photographer Tara Miller lost most of her vision in high school, she did what most people would expect -- she put her camera away.

See Full Article

It wasn't until years later that Miller picked up a camera again and discovered a much richer experience. She used her keen hearing, the feeling of the lens focusing on a subject and even her sense of smell to frame an image.

"When I'm composing an image, I'm not really using my eyesight," said Miller, now a professional commercial photographer in Winnipeg.

"There's no difference with us being visually impaired or legally blind photographers. If we're comfortable in what we're shooting, we're going to get that same result as someone who's fully sighted."

Blind photographers like Miller are hoping a new exhibit at Winnipeg's Canadian Museum for Human Rights, opening to the public this weekend and running until September, will help showcase talent and break down stereotypes surrounding the visually impaired.

The exhibit entitled "Sight Unseen: International Photography by Blind Artists" features over 100 works but also uses 3-D technology to allow those with vision loss to feel some select photos with their fingertips while touch sensors in the prints set off descriptive audio.

One photographer's work is embedded with braille while another is accompanied by a topographical print-out of the photo which can be touched by visitors.

"It does a great job of expanding the perception, the expectations and pre-conceived biases that people would have," said Corey Timpson, the museum's vice-president of exhibitions, research and design.

"The more people can be exposed to this, the more there's just a general awareness."

Pete Eckert didn't turn to photography seriously until after he completely lost his sight. He picked up an old mechanical camera from the 1960s and started taking pictures. He uses a long exposure and a series of flashlights to create a fiery silhouette around his subject.

Like Miller, he relies on his hearing and other senses to immerse himself in his work. If anything, Eckert said he is more in synch with his subjects and medium than before.

"You can't see behind your head so we're all visually impaired. When I had vision, I had 210 degrees of vision," said the California-based photographer, whose work is featured in the exhibit.

"Using sound, you hear the world in 360 degrees."

Eckert never gets to see his finished prints. For him, the art form is in the "event" of taking the photo.

"I say I build photos," he said. "Your brain, especially your imagination, fills in the gaps that you can't see. So I'm basically investigating the world like a baby learns to see."

Eckert, a trained martial artist who used to spar against opponents using sound, said he hopes the exhibit challenges people to think about the concept of ability. If people look at his work and wonder "How did he do that?" Eckert said perhaps they will question what other talents blind people may have.

"I'd like them to question their own assumptions of what they think -- not only blind people can do -- but all disabled people."

Pete Haertel, a legally blind professional pet photographer in Winnipeg, said people are constantly surprised at his work. The exhibit is a chance for people to see beyond the white cane or guide dog, he said.

"Just because somebody's holding a white cane doesn't mean they can't take a photograph."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Classified wins ECMA Song of Year for Snoop Dogg collaboration

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAINT JOHN, N.B. - A fun collaboration with Snoop Dogg called "No Pressure" rewarded Classified with the Song of the Year award Thursday night at the annual East Coast Music Awards. The rapper, from Enfield, N.S. Source
  • Acadian rockers, favourite folkies rule East Coast Music Awards

    Entertainment CBC News
    A mix of old favourites and brash newcomers took home the honours at the East Coast Music Awards gala on Thursday night in Saint John. For the third year in a row, the gala was held at the start of the annual event, a move that organizers say spreads the festivities over several days. Source
  • Scarlett Johansson wants to meet 72-year-old doppelganger

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Scarlett Johansson is keen to meet a 72-year-old woman who was her spitting image 50 years ago. Last week, a user on the content sharing website Reddit posted a photo of his grandmother, Geraldine, at the age of 22, and noted she was once looked strikingly similar to the Avengers star. Source
  • Documentary captures genius behind Canadian architectural marvel

    Entertainment CTV News
    Integral House is undeniably an architectural marvel. Nestled in a canopied ravine in Toronto’s Rosedale neighbourhood, the home’s alluring curved walls and sweeping open spaces make it one of Canada’s most unique private residences. But the story behind Integral House, captured in the documentary “Integral Man,” may rival its striking beauty. Source
  • Portrayal of Michael Jackson 'should not have been axed': Joseph Fiennes

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actor Joseph Fiennes has defended his portrayal of Michael Jackson in the cancelled Urban Myths, insisting the project was no worse than the comedy skits on U.S. TV show Saturday Night Live. Fiennes’ casting as the King of Pop in the show upset members of Jackson’s family and fans and the Sky Arts programme, which imagined a drive the Thriller singer took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando back to Los Angeles from New York City after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was eventually axed amid…
  • Mike Myers working on ideas for fourth 'Austin Powers' flick

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Mike Myers and director Jay Roach are working on concepts for a fourth Austin Powers movie. The comedy trilogy surrounding the quirky 1960s spy, portrayed by Myers, has been a huge hit and the filmmaking duo insist there’s always a possibility they will regroup for another adventure - if a good idea presents itself. Source
  • Nintendo sells 2.74 million Switch consoles, trims quarterly losses

    Entertainment CBC News
    Nintendo Co.'s Switch, a new hybrid game machine that works as both a console and a tablet, is selling well, helping the Kyoto-based company behind the Super Mario and Pokemon franchises trim its quarterly losses. Nintendo said Thursday it has sold 2.74 million Switch machines and 5.46 million units of Switch software since sales began in March. Source
  • 'Bachelor' star Chris Soules acted reasonably after crash, legal team says

    Entertainment CTV News
    This Tuesday, April 25, 2017, photo provided by the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office in Independence, Iowa, shows Chris Soules, former star of ABC's "The Bachelor," after being booked early Tuesday after his arrest on a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident near Arlington, Iowa. Source
  • Bella Thorne Snapchats her bikini wax

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actress Bella Thorne has shared her first bikini waxing session online. The 19-year-old posted footage of herself getting her summer groom on via Snapchat this week. Fans watched as she sat on a white towel with a pair of scissors in her right hand, apparently trimming her pubic hair, ahead of the waxing session with a beautician. Source
  • What's happening right now at the ECMAs in Saint John

    Entertainment CBC News
    Roll out the red carpet: the East Coast Music Awards show kicks off Thursday evening at Harbour Station. Starting at 8 p.m., winners will be announced in categories including album/video/solo recording of the year, enregistrement francophone de l'année, Indigenous artist of the year, song of the year, and the country, rock and rising star categories. Source