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Blind Photography Project

By Alejandra Loreto and Laschandré Coetzee

“My images are fragile; I’ve never seen them, but I know they exist, and some of them have touched me deeply,”. – Blind photographer Evgen Bavcar

How can a blind person take photos? This seems to be almost everyone’s initial reaction whether sighted or blind. The idea that someone can take photos without seeing was fascinating and that is how the BPP began its spontaneous journey.

The Blind Photography Project was founded in 2015 by architect Alejandro Loreto in Vienna, Austria who thereafter applied the same concept in Caracas, Venezuela in 2016. It was then that Namibian communication and social designer Laschandré Coetzee joined the project and together the developed the exhibition concept, I am blind. The project can be seen as a communication tool, engaging with blind persons from different contexts, collecting their stories and sharing these experiences through the travelling exhibition I am blind. In 2018 Laschandré moved the project to Windhoek, Namibia and thereafter it will move to Abidjan, Ivory Coast. For the project, photography remains an interesting input, but is not the final conclusion. It is a means to communicate our inner views, expand our knowledge of the city and empower blind people to show others the things they cannot see.

Alejandro leading a visually impaired lady. Photo:Blind Photography Project

By using photography as a tool, in the photo walks and now in this exhibition, the project aims to build bridges between the blind and sighted and challenge common assumptions about blindness. Moreover, the project also aims to create a space for visually impaired people to participate in the creation of the arts and be part of the visual culture. According to Simon Hayhoe; “Despite barriers, photography by visually impaired artists is fast developing new genres in the field of contemporary art,”. The notion of a blind photographer might have been considered absurd a few years ago but as time has passed, more and more blind artists and passionate ameture blind photographers are contributing their unique perspectives to the landscape of visual culture. The BPP therefore contributes to a broader conversation in contemporary art about accessibility, perceptual diversification and the role of the artists and the viewer.

A visually impaired man taking pictures.Photo:Blind Photography Project.

“In this way, image taking is less a matter of the cognitive difference between visual impairment and sight, but a social narrative about the excluded reality of the camera user. To put it another way, they take the viewer not only into the senses of the photographer but also into the social and cultural world of the circumstances that their impairment prescribes and that these artists live within,” (Hayhoe, S, 2015; 9).

Shona Ngavahttps://unwrap.online
Shona Ngava is a music journalist, educator, and blogger who aims to share more insight on how music impacts the average listener. He has worked previously for the Namibian Sun as a journalist and has done countless reviews of many albums and singles focusing specifically on the Namibian music scene. He is the host of the only show on radio that is dedicated to album reviews and music critiquing in Namibia. He works at the community radio station of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) called NUST FM. He is currently the Programming and Music Director the radio station and is responsible finding the right music for the station and audio and radio production at NUST FM. Shona Ngava has 5 years experience within the print and broadcasting industries and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communications Technology. He is passionate about the entertainment industry and elevating and taking it to better heights. He believes in equal treatment of artists and making sure their stories are told all the time every time hence he is a contributor for unwrap.online. Besides Journalism, Shona Ngava's other interests lie in artist management, social media marketing and talent management and brand management.
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