For some time now I’ve had a theory that photography is not about the sense of sight but rather the sense of awareness. Good photography is not about rules and technical know-how, good photography is about revealing hidden truths and realities, relationships between subject and photographer and viewer. Twenty-twenty vision may help you make beautiful images but without a sense of awareness the images will be just that, pretty. They will be shallow, devoid of truths and feelings and worst of all, without a story.
The image on the left is of a book called “Seeing Beyond Sight: Photographs by Blind Teenagers“. When you read this book or visit the web site you can’t help but question the need for sight to make photographs. The author Tony Deifell explains that while the young photographers may not be able to see light they can feel the heat due to the light. They are aware of it’s presence.
“I was thinking that it would be sort of hard for a blind person to take pictures, but it’s not very hard. You’ve just got to listen.” (John V., student, page 48 of Seeing Beyond Sight).
The photographs taken by these young people tell a story about their relationships between themselves and the world and their connection to it. They help us connect the inside to the outside and that is a powerful message. I’ve questioned in a previous post, the difficulty of determining where we end and where the outside world begins. After looking at these photographs you get the feeling that there is no separation.
For me, these young photographers have proven my theory and taken it beyond the original premise. Photography is not about the sense of sight, it’s beyond sight, it’s about what we are, it’s about being, it’s about awareness… It’s about being awareness itself.
Just two images from Seeing Beyond Sight.