what you think about photography made by blind people
I was reading the thread about the need of glasses when I found out that someone post a comment with this link
I remember at once that in Oaxaca City the "Centro Fotografico Alvarez Bravo" shares the building with the "Biblioteca Jorge Luis Borges" a Braille library, it is kind of paradox out of the mind of Francisco Toledo, the painter and social activist of highest influence in actual Mexico.
I was attending there to a lecture given by Mary Ellen Mark and at the end the director then asked permission to Mary Ellen to show to the crowd the photographic work of some blind people and she granted the permission and listen carefully the complete discourse of the two blind photographers and the directors too. When the whole thing comes to an end, Mary Ellen asked to some of us to join her to have diner, and at the table someone ask her her opinion about the "blind photography", her answer was: bla, bla, bla.
I personally agree with her opinion, what is yours?
Not as crazy as it sounds - many of the photographers are partially sighted. They may actually be able to see the photographs, or even the viewfinder image BETTER than they can see the thing they're photographing.
However the ones by the totally blind are actually the most interesting - you have to ask "why did they choose that subject", and it forces you to think of their perspective on the world. As a one off exercise I think it works - a larger body of work would loose that impact, and would be hard to take seriously.
Kind of like those cooks on cooking shows who talk about the smell of what they cook. A lot of wasted time. I've seen some photography by completely blind people and I even asked what drew their attention to a specific image. They said they heard a cool sound. The image was blurry and without substance. You can't record sound with a camera or a blurry image, just like you can't smell what is on TV.
On the other hand, I saw some sculptures by a couple of blind art students. Upon looking at them I saw some funky shapes. They told the crowd that to truely experience their sculptures they had to be blind and see the sculpture like the artist did. I closed my eyes and DAMN! They were soooooooo cool. Totally tactile. They morphed under the hand, became believable. No offense to the ladies present but the scupture called Nude Woman that looked nothing like a woman felt like a woman.
Both sculptors said their world was built of sound and touch, like all people who were born blind or lost their sight at such an early age that they had no memory of what things looked like.
All in all, if they are selling and people are buying, all the power to them.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
Well, photography is a visual medium, and as such must be made 'visually', and experienced visually. If a blind person makes a photograph, there's no way to 'understand' the photograph unless it's paired with some else (such as smell or sound). A blind person pointing a camera at a scene and pulling the trigger while hearing something interesting will be completely unable to create a photograph with impact without combining the associated sound with the photograph. Even then, chances are the photograph would be a failure.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that there has to be some sort of 'connection' between the photographer and the viewer. When both the photographer and viewer are sighted, that connection is the print. Or, flip it around - how would a blind person understand a photograph made by a sighted person? They can't, not without some other connection to the photographer. That's why sculpture works in this respect - it's both a tactile *and* visual medium.
Diane Bos (who is sighted) has done some interesting stuff with pinhole photography where she recorded sound during the exposure. The pinhole photographs are, by themselves, somewhat interesting. However, when paired with the audio, they become something completely different, and inherently more interesting.
Or, to quote Mary Ellen - blah blah blah
I think that Farrah Fawcett rolling around naked and painting with her tits is a great example of art or boob art. Bet Leonardo didn't think of that.
Photography by blind people is really sound photography, a whole new medium kind of like driving a car while blind.
What the hell. ITS ALL ART. WERE ALL ARTISTS. Even when I use my dick to paint inside the urinal. ITs all good.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
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I appriciate it for the aspect it is portreyed to me, as Blindness has been a strong part of my family, I don't know that a visual person can understand the meaning and capibilities that people who are missing one of their senses can have, I don't find anything wrong with it, and do quite admire their desire to experiance the process of photography, and wish them all the power they can muster to bring their 'vision' to life!
It was me who infested that thread....
Originally Posted by danmennuz
About MEM: I just love stories about artists who show how condescending they really are when talking in private. It's such revealing gossip. Chances are in such case as MEM's, that IF photographs by blind people where THE next fashionable thing in art photography and would fetch prices that starting competing with hers, she would have a lot more serious (=blablabla) things to say about it. And add to this the fact that MEM is not really in to photography as a conceptual art thing - she seems more bend on perfect technique.
Apart from this, I do recall an interesting project by Sophie Calle (one of our more favorite artists) who worked with blind people. But then, I've always had a soft spot for conceptual stuff anyhow. Must be my university upbringing...
I have REALLY bad vision. Without my glasses, I would have succomb to the law of survival of the fittest long ago. People with normal vision put on my glasses and see into the future.
I have often thought about doing a series of images that are shot close to the focus that I have with out my glasses. I've been looking for some inspiration for shooting lately, guess its time to try it out.
"Hey, I don't tell you how to tell me what to do, so don't tell me how to do what you tell me to do!"-Bender Bending Rodriguez
Being an illiterate writer eye can relate to the blind photographer. If it were not for this digital due hikky voice-to-tripe translator eye could not express myself atol but I dew and eye can so why can knot the site less. Question mark. Damn it. Question mark! "?"
Seriously, the blind photographer shows us that the fundamental problem (if there is a problem) of photography is the infinite number of photographic possibilities in any situation, and except for certain, well-known schools, there are no semiotics to rationalize the differences. A person's life's work shows what he's doing, his visual vocabulary, for better or worse, through series and very often a heck of a lot of help from several good writers, critics, curators. The blind photographer can only point to smells, sounds, breezes, temperature attractants (hot air?) - in other words, the writers, critics, curators.
Mary Ellen Mark is kinda like that horrid radio personality on NPR, Terry Gross. I think people like this just like to associate with famous people, have their names show up all over the place, and schmooze whoever will further their status. I'm with Blansky - let's have MEM roll around in some Dektol naked and see what develops.