Blind Photographers Show the World as They See It

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How can people with sight view the world through the eyes of the blind? After being inspired by the work of blind photographer Evgan Bavcar, Partho Bhowmick decided to explore the answer this question. In 2006, he teamed up with the Victoria Memorial School for the Blind in Mumbai, India to provide the opportunity for students — some completely blind, others with partial vision — to communicate their perspectives of the world by teaching them about photography. Bhowmick’s ultimate goal was to help the students create photographs that challenge the way seeing people perceive visual impairment, and disability in general. He called the project Blind with Camera.

After teaching the students how to operate both point-and-click 35mm and SLR manual cameras, Bhowmick combined this technical knowledge with the students’ sensory know-how — such as sound, touch, and feeling the warmth of light — in order to help them to conceptualize their photograph before clicking the shutter. The result puts forth a more complex notion of literal and metaphorical perspective.

The Blind with Camera project is the first of its kind in India, and Bhowmick hopes to expand the Beyond Sight photography exhibition — which has shown in Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangalore — to include books, websites, and films. He wants to raise funds to assist the blind in India, who have few options, and to raise awareness about disability prejudice. Partho Bhowmick seeks to provide viewers with an important and overlooked vantage point of one of the most marginalized groups in one of the world’s most rapidly developing countries.

Mahesh Umrrania: “I would manage to touch the lower branches of the tree and feel the warmth of the summer sun over my head and imagined the ‘designer’ shadow on the footpath before clicking.”

Raju Singh: “It may be interesting to imagine a dream image with closed eyes, but it was even more exciting to create one by imagining it with open eyes and low vision.”

Kanchan Pamnani “I see life bigger than it appears.”