Friday, March 28, 2008

Life Imitates Art

Caution: Potentially Offensive Rant Ahead.


Well, I suppose that it was only a matter of time before this finally happened. Photography isn’t competitive enough, what with having to compete with everybody that has access to a digital camera, now we have to worry about BLIND photographers using up valuable funding, gallery space, and publicity? Are you serious? Somebody must have just seen the movie “Pecker” and thought this would be a good idea.

I can see blind people participating in a number of the arts, sculpture is a very tactile art, even painting where they could feel the brush strokes and use their hands, but photography? How would a blind person compose a photograph? How would they see the result?

I can see it now, “this guy must hate blind people”…I don’t hate blind people, but I do hate this politically correct namby-pamby world that we have become where no one can be left out of anything regardless of their actual inability to do it.

Some people can see and some can’t. It doesn’t make either one of them better than the other as a person, but it does make them better at doing different things than the other, like seeing and the art of photography. Heck, I've seen plenty of sighted people that have no business owning a camera, but that's a rant for another day.

27 comments:

ButterflyChicBoutique said...

LOL well that's a new one on me! Wouldn't that be sorta like letting blind people drive.....

Mixed Species said...

Scott - maybe you can start creating artwork using Braille?!

Will Michael Photography said...

Indeed. Maybe I should get my cat a camera? Of course, she can actually see stuff.


I don't mean to be rude but it just seems too arbitrary to me... auto exposure and hope for the best, no way to compose anything, no way to judge the result as being desired and no way to appreciate the final image.

H.E.Eigler said...

I just don't get it.....not everyone has to be included in everything. You don't see me out singing on the street...cause I can't sing. I'm not upset by that. It's the truth.

femputer said...

Yowza! :) I definitely see where you're coming from about gallery space, publicity, and resources. And there's a danger that it could become reduced to a gimmick.

But I do think that the *act* of photographing could serve as a viable means for the blind to explore the senses and existence.

Supposing I knew of the existence of another dimension that I could engage in, but not perceive. I would still want to explore it in whatever capacity I could.

Hmm... I feel myself beginning to veer in star trek-wardly directions... :)

SecretMe said...

a difficult subject, I work with children with special needs including visually impared, ok they may not be able to produce a beautiful composition like you may but maybe they'll pick something up you missed, perhaps the therapeutic benefit for them should be enough to warrant this move, come on folks these are people without sight surely we cant begrudge them the experience of a lifetime perhaps for them? they'll be working closely with others and that in itself can be a greatly gratifying experience for someone who is VI. gimmie a break.

Rosebud Collection said...

I have to admit, blind photographer..that is a bit much..

Robin Lynne said...

I have to agree.. they can't see. Sure they may "feel" the surroundings and they may 'feel' like it's a beautiful thing etc, but they can't see it, to judge how to take the photograph "properly" or to put any real thought into it except "Hey I'm blind I'll take a picture and be awesome!" but.. yeah..

Also: at the very moment I came to your blog, my jewelry shop's ad was in your indiego box. I thought that was a co-ink-a-dink.

UniqueNurseGranny said...

Long ago when in college a blind student was driving his fraternity brothers home and got stopped in front of our dorm because he ran up on a curb.The campus policeman yelled "What are you blind or something?" We were all collapsed with laughing when he said "Well, as a matter of fact,officer,yes,"

espionage said...

You could look at it like modern art. There is no comparing an abstract piece (in my mind) to a finely detailed realistic one. But, they are different. Oftentimes the realistic piece is meant to portray beauty. Art for art's sake. While modern art is trying to make a statement. Did that make sense to you?

TotusMel said...

It does seem a little wacky doesn't it.

DancingMooney said...

Eeeek! As if being an artist isn't challenging enough!

Tatyana said...

oh man... that's ridiculous. especially the line in the article - "why should blind people be able to archive their memories?" I'm speechless about the implications of that. Who would they show their photos to? And how do they explain whats in each photo? and... meh. I'll stop.

btw i LOVE your photography. Really really love it. :)

Studio A La Mode said...

This seems ridiculous to me, too. And for those who say they may want to "experience" it, I guess I don't understand what they are experiencing -- the "sense" is sight - and they don't have it. The only experience they might have is pushing the button on the camera. That is like saying someone without the sense of taste should eat gourmet food to experience it. Not gonna happen.

Endless Memories Photography said...

WOW! I don't want to sound rude either, but that is really silly. Like you said, sculpture or painting I can understand, but photography, NO. Who in the world thought of that? I'll follow the link and see.
Rant on Scott! :)

High Desert Diva said...

For real? How weird.

SecretMe said...

The 'experience' is one of human contact, and knowing that someone cares, that is invaluable to individuals who have lost one of their senses. Its not always about the end product but the process through which they go. Ok maybe a different project would have been better suited but money and endorsements lie where they lie and are often not interchangeable between different organisations and projects.

almapottery said...

why can't they take pictures of their ,let's say daily comute ,archive the pictures and talk about the images with people who can see and share the experience.I think is perfectly duable and a nice way to spend some time.I would love to see pictures taken by a blind person.just think about it.they have to make the decision to point the camera based on sounds or smells.

Scott Bulger Photography said...

Honestly, it just seems disingenuous to me. Kind of like the controversy of giving a blind person a camera would draw more attention to their cause, which indeed it has. I'm all for working with those folks that are less fortunate than ourselves, but I really think that it could have been done in a more productive way instead of using that woman as a pawn.

There's a hilarious line in the movie "Pecker" when the gallery owner introduces her new "find", the blind photographer, to everyone else. Of course, they are all aghast at the thought of a blind photographer when he says "I'm finally free, no more light meters, no more focusing..."

All the interaction in the world could have happened by giving her a lump of clay and letting her mold it with her hands with another sculpture helping her. That would have been something that she could appreciate.

Sus said...

hmm...I'm a bit disappointed that the newspaper didn't publish at least one of the photos, just to give us sighted folks an idea as to what a blind person see's when taking a photograph. Plus there simply isn't enough quotes by the blind "photographer", such as what does she think she's photographed? And why? What did she "see" when she decided to press the shutter.

While I do think that there is definitely some sort of therapeutic benefit, having worked with developmentally & physically disabled adults before but at the same time the question that does arise is if the person creating said art can not actually see their creation then is it art? A sculpture, whether blind or not, would see their piece with their hands. What does a blind person see a photograph with?

Sarah said...

I agree with you, Scott.

I even find it somewhat offensive, as it implies photography is somehow 'simple'.

brandianndesigns said...

scott. i'm with you. plain and simple.

Nrapture said...

Shouldn't the credit for the work go to the professional photographer who is telling the blind individual what to capture? I'm fearful that this will turn a visual impaired person into nothing more than a tripod. That's what is offensive to me.

ElegantSnobbery said...

Oh I would be sooo annoyed if I were a photographer!! But I did see a beautiful photography exhibit in London a few years ago. In addition to the breathtaking pictures, there was an area set up for the blind to enjoy them too... all the photographs had been made into etched metal plaques. I thought that was pretty cool. But I can't imagine the Blind photographers being any good.

Lucid Dreams Photography said...

Blind photography...lol...what will they think of next? That's taking political correctness to a whole new level.

I've realized how competitive the market for photography is since digital came along.

and.....I am one of those persons that can now be what I've always wanted to be due to the invention of the digital camera. I sometimes feel like I'm not part of the club due to this. Hopefully, as long as I continue to strive to be the best I can be, the digital factor can be overlooked. ;)

claylabcarrie said...

I guess I must be the dissenting voice to this one. Art is such a constant argument with regard to what gets the seal of approval (or not). But the expressive content of one's actions, regardless of what THEY see, brings about something for YOU to see. What a blind person "sees" involves the comprehension of relative distance to one's voice, movements, etc. I thought some of the work was actually pretty good.

It can be said that photography isn't art with a capital "A" (and this argument has been engaged since the beginning of photography) - you snap a shot of a ferris wheel... who is the "artist," the maker of the ferris wheel or the one who stood in front of it with a camera?

Art is a form of communication, folks. Plain and simple. Not everyone thinks rap is music, either. But it's communication. And if a blind person wants to choose an ironic tool with which to communicate, one mustn't be such an elitist to discredit. I find it rather clever, actually. And it only takes one person to "read" what someone has "written" for it to be visual communication. I read it loud and clear, so he wins! :)

Now I don't know about getting grant money for such endeavors, but
we don't want to stat that one. Half the money granted is for crap, anyway.

'nuff said.

Scott Bulger Photography said...

This is exactly why there is always such a debate about whether something is art (with a capital A). Someone is always trying to get there 15 minutes of fame by doing something ridiculous.

Anything that remotely looked like a decent composition was the work of the "handler" pointing the "photographer" in the right direction.

You can't discount the grant money aspect of the argument because that is half fight.

Specious arguments about rap music and communication are red herrings.

For a blind "photographer" to communicate what they "see", they would have to leave the lens cap on so the resulting image was all black.

Can you read that loud and clear?