Beautiful Portraits of Visually Impaired Individuals
“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.” ― Helen Keller
Such were the profound words written by one of the most inspiring individuals afflicted by blindness. For those of us who can see, it is almost an incomprehensible reality to be thrown into a world of darkness. Of all the senses, sight is the perhaps the most difficult to compensate. How do you substitute an image? From where does a blind person reference a visual of which there is no prior experience? Eyesight is such a marvelous gift we take for granted, and is an absolute torment if it is taken away. Blind people carry with them an inconceivable burden, living a sensory deprived life in a world that has the visual at its very essence. They are an incredible breed and Julia Fullerton-Batten, has chosen to point her camera on these stoic individuals. The series entitled simply Blind, focuses her lenses on subjects who were either blind from birth or rendered sightless later in life.
To create some intimacy with her subjects, Julia spent a couple of days getting to know each of them first before any picture taking took place. She also allowed each subject to participate in the creative process, by having them choose the location for the photo shoot. The images are moving to say the least.
Julia shares her thoughts on the project,
“From the time I wake up in the morning until my eyes close in sleep, my life is full of light and visual images. I see what is going on around me, I can watch my children grow, judge the personality and moods of people whom I meet, I can drive a car and above all, my sight is essential for my career as a photographer. How different my life would be if I was surrounded by dark, blurred scenes of mottled grey and colours. Sight is one of mankind’s five senses. What is it like to be blind, fully or partially? Is it worse to be blind from birth, or to be robbed of one’s sight later in life through illness or accident …
…Relating to my models was a very humbling experience. Their stories weighed me down with sorrow at their misfortune. But, at the same time it was a profoundly uplifting one. Without exception, my models are shining examples of how to continue living with joy and energy even under very difficult circumstances. One thing I realised is that there are many degrees of blindness, and each person is different. And that although they can’t see, their senses of touch, sound and smell are heightened in some form of compensation. I can only admire the courage and fortitude of my blind friends at how they handle their lives in such a positive way.”