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Shooting Blind: Photographs by the Visually Impaired [Hardcover]

Edward Hoagland
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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From Library Journal

Aperture expands its fine reputation with this unique work by photographers from New York at the Seeing with Photography collective, which has been active for over 15 years. Members have varying degrees of sight; one, for instance, says that she sees sunlight and fog. Using a Polaroid to create images by "painting with light" that is, with flashlights these artists produce work that is startlingly original and creative. Their hope is that through this work the sighted will both learn to appreciate their vision and become aware of the talents and self-expression of those whose vision is limited. The images are high-quality, mostly full-page portraits staged with intriguing backgrounds to represent the personality of each photographer. Throughout, faces are often highlighted. The interviews with the photographers add insight into their character and photographic goals, as do the brief biographies and portraits of the artists. The text is in large, easily legible print. Highly recommended for photography, special education, and general collections. Lynetta Alexander, Tennessee State Univ., Nashville
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Book Description

Shooting Blind: Photographs by the Visually Impaired gives us entry to another world-- a reality that is at once mysterious, evocative, and beautiful, arousing a blend of memories and emotions. The unique photographs are made by Seeing with Photography, a collective of photographers with varying degrees of visual impairment-- ranging from legal to complete blindness-- that has been active in New York City for over fifteen years. The group uses their cameras to explore the world and better understand themselves while creating luminous works of art.

These compelling black-and-white images are made using an old technique called "painting with light," in which flashlights are used to illuminate the subjects over long exposures in complete darkness. Various tactile and audio cues are used while creating the image; sometimes an assistant will describe the surroundings for those with the most limited vision and help orient their cameras. Through close collaboration, the photographers achieve a result of striking imagery imbued with a charged and bristling energy, distinct from the ordinary.

The work represents the collective's response to the world, pushing the human form and creating novel translations-- at times ironic and extravagant. The photographic technique incorporates clashing areas of softness and sharpness, streakiness and luminous distortions, detail and confusion, symbolic of the group's shared visual loss.

Accompanying these richly surreal photographs are interviews with the photographers, shedding light on the motivations behind their work.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing in a new light Jan. 3 2003
"Shooting Blind" is a fascinating photographic study, as all the contributors are visually impaired. Accompanying interviews with the photographers indicate that many of them wanted to represent how they see the world - an impression of what it is like to experience a vision loss. They've accomplished this admirably by using an innovative flashlight technique, creating eerie light and shadows. This photographic technique is interesting in its own right, and its usage in the photographs can also be viewed purely as art, with no compelling need to know about the photographer's vision loss. One particularly magical photo is that of a violinist, with light and mist rising from the instrument, giving it an ethereal mystical quality, almost allowing the viewer to see the music flowing from the violin. "Shooting Blind" had a profound effect on me - allowing me to enter the world of people who are visually impaired, while at the same time making me realize that art doesn't have to be bound by our own limitations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Sound of the 'Silence' Sept. 4 2002
My eyes went wet when I browse through the striking images printed in "Shooting Blind: Photographs by the Visually Impaired". These unpretentious and sensual portraitures knock me down like a hammer strike. My colleagues ask me (I showed them the publication) if the blind photograhers could see their end products and I told him this does not really matter and we should treat the images as a gift to us (those who can really 'see'?!), a gift which could lead us thinking the meaning and the quest of seeing. These images are amazing graces!
For decades our so called Art World and mainstream Art History merely focus upon 'sophisticated' works and have neglected voices from minorities. The institutionalization of Art (with a capital A) by museum, gallery, collectors, curators and academics have buried the original essential nature of perceptual
experience and creative will.
I treat the photographers in this book a violate act up against the stagnated world. I truly hope the publisher Aperture or other Art dealers not to give a price tag to these honest images and leave them away from the fateful destinations and genres of Postmodern Photography.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sound of the 'Silence' Sept. 4 2002
By wong kai yu - Published on Amazon.com
My eyes went wet when I browse through the striking images printed in "Shooting Blind: Photographs by the Visually Impaired". These unpretentious and sensual portraitures knock me down like a hammer strike. My colleagues ask me (I showed them the publication) if the blind photograhers could see their end products and I told him this does not really matter and we should treat the images as a gift to us (those who can really 'see'?!), a gift which could lead us thinking the meaning and the quest of seeing. These images are amazing graces!
For decades our so called Art World and mainstream Art History merely focus upon 'sophisticated' works and have neglected voices from minorities. The institutionalization of Art (with a capital A) by museum, gallery, collectors, curators and academics have buried the original essential nature of perceptual
experience and creative will.
I treat the photographers in this book a violate act up against the stagnated world. I truly hope the publisher Aperture or other Art dealers not to give a price tag to these honest images and leave them away from the fateful destinations and genres of Postmodern Photography.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing in a new light Jan. 3 2003
By Arlene Romoff - Published on Amazon.com
"Shooting Blind" is a fascinating photographic study, as all the contributors are visually impaired. Accompanying interviews with the photographers indicate that many of them wanted to represent how they see the world - an impression of what it is like to experience a vision loss. They've accomplished this admirably by using an innovative flashlight technique, creating eerie light and shadows. This photographic technique is interesting in its own right, and its usage in the photographs can also be viewed purely as art, with no compelling need to know about the photographer's vision loss. One particularly magical photo is that of a violinist, with light and mist rising from the instrument, giving it an ethereal mystical quality, almost allowing the viewer to see the music flowing from the violin. "Shooting Blind" had a profound effect on me - allowing me to enter the world of people who are visually impaired, while at the same time making me realize that art doesn't have to be bound by our own limitations.
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