The Blind Photograper curated by Redstone Press London - Factum Arte
Exhibition from July 28th to September 24, 2016
«The best thing to do with stereotypes and preconceptions is to challenge them, and [...] «The Blind Photographer» does just that. It breaks down barriers from both sides, and shows what can be achieved if you turn your back on the doubters and just follow your dreams. Visions are not seen purely by the eyes but through the spirit.» STEVIE WONDER
This exhilarating exhibition is the first to explore the worldwide phenomenon of blind and partially-sighted people taking up photography in all its vibrancy and diversity, and show- cases brilliant work from Mexico, India, China, the UK and elsewhere. It celebrates the deeper truth, known and demonstrated by artists, writers, playwrights and musicians over many centuries: that blindness is a kind of seeing; and that those who can see are often blind to the strangeness and beauty of the world about them. In the photography of the blind we encounter the paradox that it is sight itself that can be sharpened by blindness.
Presenting 50 works of 29 photographers, 10 of the prints have been rematerialised in relief form so they can be “read” through touch. The exhibition has been curated by Adam Lowe with Constanza Dessain and Rafa Rachewsky, and was inspired by the book THE BLIND PHOTOGRAPHER, prefaced by Candia McWilliam and edited by Julian Rothenstein of Redstone Press.
The exhibition is the collaboration of :
• Redstone Press, a London-based art book publisher that was founded in 1986 by Julian Rothenstein. Redstone Press has been characterised as «a shining example of how books should be published «. Publisher Julian Rothenstein, who has been called «a one-man art movement», is also the press’s editor and designer.
• Factum Arte is based in Madrid, London and Milan, and consists of a team of artists, technicians and conservators dedicated to digital mediation - both in the production of works for contemporary artists and in the production of facsimiles as part of a cohe- rent approach to preservation and dissemination. Their contribution and expertise was indispensable for the exhibition « The Blind Photographer », to produce a series of prints by 29 blind photographers, including 10 tactile interpretations of these works.
• Galerie Huit Arles was founded by author/curator Julia de Bierre in 2007, and today presents in the Grand Salon the 29 worldwide blind photographers. Exhibiting 10 tactile interpretations of photographs and 50 prints, Galerie Huit Arles enables a new kind of photographic appreciation.
Inspired by the spirit of the Blind Photographer the Factum Foundation has worked to open the exhibition to visually impaired visitors. In the workshops at Factum a set of accompanying models have been made which transform these flat, digitally printed images into reliefs which will allow visually impaired visitors to feel the photographs. New technologies such as CNC routing and 3D printing allow for high resolution output of tonal information, surface relief and other sensory characteristics.
They have been utilised in conjuncture with a range of traditional craft approaches, from traditional printing and embossing, to casting and glazing techniques. Each image has been ‘translated’ in a completely unique way using a wide range of materials: shellac, thick gela- tine, plaster and foam.
The project challenges the primacy of sight and the tactile photographs are a manifestation of the rich information that can be gained through touch: temperature, surface texture and relief convey and engage us with the imagery. The models distill the meaning and content of the photographs and communicate these through rich multi-sensory characteristics rather than being rigid transcriptions.