Multi-Looks in Corporal Ascension © Gerardo Nigenda
Untitled, India, 2011 © Satvir Jogi
“Photography must belong to the blind,” philosopher Evgen Bavcar writes in The Blind Photographer, a new book featuring 150 images created by artists without eyesight, “who in their daily existence have learned to become the masters of camera obscura.”
The volume spans continents, cultures, genres. Some of the photographers included were born blind; others lost their vision after some traumatic event or disease.
The single thread connecting the men and women behind the lens is the fact that they have lived in what Bavcar describes as a kind of permanent darkroom, where they form pictures inside their heads.
For many of the artists, photography has become a way to assert themselves in a world that so often turns the other way. By asking us to look, the blind photographers force us to face a painful and uncomfortable truth about the ways in which we—the sighted—have forgotten to see.
Though they certainly reject the title “blind photographer” in many ways— they are, after all, photographers like all the other photographers in the world, without any qualifiers— it would be a mistake to say that their blindness hasn’t made their work more magical.
They engage all our senses, pull us backwards in time to that lost and unremembered moment every morning just before we first open our eyes.
The photographers in this book will never see their own pictures as we do, and that’s okay. They make them anyway, for the joy of creating without the burden of having to see how each shot turned out in the end. In the way so many photographs serve as a period punctuating a moment in time, these photographs are like ellipses, set free from the rules that have long tethered them in place.
The Blind Photographer was created by Redstone Press in conjunction with Ojos Que Sienten, edited by Julian Rothenstein and Mel Gooding, and is published by Princeton Architectural Press. Find it on Amazon.
Untitled, Mexico, 2012-14 © Ana María Fernández
Untitled, Mexico, 2010 © Ana Soriano
Untitled, Mexico, 2011 © Jesús David García
Untitled, Mexico, 2013 © José Luis Mercado
Untitled, Mexico, 2012 © Palmira Martínez
From the series Surviving the Thaw, Mexico, 1999 / 2004? © Pedro Miranda
Him and Me, Mexico, 2009 (photo-textile) © Pedro Miranda
Untitled, Mexico, 2012-13 © Pedro Rubén Reynoso
Fashion show, UK, 2007 © Ramona Quacy Williams
Life After Life, Mexico, 2007 © Rubén Ortiz