“Sight for the Sightless” focuses on my brother, Gabe, who has been blind since birth. Everyday, I grew up witnessing how he interacts differently with the world due to the loss of such an important sense. Without this sense, his other senses have been magnified and that is evident in everything he does. I believe that his loss of sight should not limit him or others to interact with art. Instead, it should propel the artist to push boundaries and create art for more than one audience.
I have always used photography to express my feelings and it has occurred to me that Gabe cannot see and experience the feelings or emotions I have captured. In this exhibition, the images are captured in a way that visually represents Gabe and his everyday environment. While growing up with Gabe, I have seen how his everyday environment is different because he has had to adapt to aspects of life in alternative ways. Braille is a language that I do not need, but for Gabe, it has allowed him to understand what he cannot see. The braille is a description made by Gabe of what he was feeling or experiencing in the image. I chose to incorporate the application of braille to the photographs so he could understand the emotions that the image is portraying. The decision to photograph with a 35mm film camera was because of the aesthetic that the photos capture. There is no English description of the braille because I wanted to create an even playing field for the viewers who cannot see and the viewers who can see the feeling. This gives the viewers who can see an idea of what it is like to not to understand a photograph just like someone who can not see a photograph. This exhibition gives a fair chance to viewers with sight or without sight to understand the same image even though they are experiencing it differently.
As humans, I strongly believe that we take for granted the sense of sight, and I wish to examine the idea that maybe we do not need sight to see or feel. Gabe can not see these photographs but, by reading the braille, he can remember the feeling in the moment, therefore he is understanding the photograph like those with sight do. Artist have the ability to create and express emotions through alternative methods and the absence of any sense should not limit what can be experienced.
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© 2019 Eleni Athenson, All Rights Reserved
- Date submitted
19 July 2022
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Archival Inkjet Print