‘ WITHOUT DARKNESS
LIGHT CAN NOT KNOW ITSELF ‘
– Glenn de Randamie –
Is the voyage of visual perception through the eyes of visually impaired people. I attempt to make the loss of sight both visible and tangible. I portray people with a sight impediment and those who have slowly gone blind. For a better understanding of what the process of losing ones sight is, I photograph while literally being blindfolded. Therefore I had to rely on my other senses.
‘ Guided on by sound and touch,
I discovered the invisible world they live in.’
BlindSight has a deeply personal motivation for me. Blindness touches me as a photographer during an examination at the hospital a view years ago. A damage spot was discovered on my macula lutea, better known as the yellow spot. Growing can lead to color loss and reduced visual sharpness.
A feared dark world was not what I experienced during those days. I saw light tones with small contrast and faded color spots. Waiting next to my brother for the results my faded visual world transformed into a whole new world. For that moment I could only rely on his eyes and the unknown guidances.
‘ Throught my personal experience I want to build a bridge
to the unknown tangible blind world.’
I want to bring the two worlds of the sighted and the visual impaired closer together. With the help of the Blind Service Association in Chicago I started the experiement in 2014 by portraying them blindfolded.
Sally Cooper gave me the courage for this experiment. From time to time I struggled about my experimental process and the innovative concept in showing a hidden vulnerable social topic. But visiting the BSA and talking to all the volunteers, the experts in the art field encouraged me to visualise my fears for blindess and to show the beauty in sound, touch and smell. It gave me the strength to find my way in showing the blind world.
‘ With a small flashlight
I painted the invisible blind people
to the sigted world.’
After I saw the results in photos there was someting missing. The intimate respectful conversations about the experience in loss of sight with the volunteers at the BSA. The sounds, the spoken words, the importancy of touch and smelling the surroundings, it didn’t show. The audience would never experience these beautiful moments. Now I understood the importance of it.
I design multi-sensory experience rooms where you fall back on your other senses. I want the visitor experience sight like a visually impaired person does. I am designing multi sensory elements like:
- Interactive movie
- Binaural soundscape with smell experiences
- Tactile relief pictures
- Installation of lightboxes
- Experience book
‘ One eyes sees, the other feels’
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‘You are the only one who understands our world of blindness. Tell our story, visualise it through art, make it visible. I have all the faith you will succeed.
– Sally Cooper, BSA –
This is an interesting and compelling body of work. I appreciate that you shared your personal connection in your statement this helped me to understand more deeply your relationship to your subjects and your motivation for making this work. Because photography is so directly linked to sight, there is something fundamentally contradictory about making a photograph without seeing. The link between the concept and the technical execution is very strong. There is something deeply introspective about the woman’s expression, and the light falling on her face is wonderful. There is just enough movement in her eyes to imply that the photograph was made over a passage of time, this movement also makes me think about her experience losing her vision.
BlindSight is personal, beautiful, humanistic and compelling!
– Magnum, awards 2016 –