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Things That Motivates A Visually Impaired Photographer

Copyright, 2008 John Browne Ayes

Being visually impaired is a trip,

especially if the fields you have chosen to pursue are photography and fine arts painting.

When I write a Blog my computer screen fonts have been adjusted so I can read the text and view the images therein.

When I take a photo I am looking through a special magnification ditty that I have flitched off of an old Game Boy handheld. This enables me to view the resultant shot I just took.

While painting I am constantly consulting my color wheel charts to make sure my values are correct even before I begin to apply paint to the canvas.

The same goes for when I am putting together a new Web page. I have downloaded specific color charts from the Internet that have been created specifically for people who are 100 percent defiicient in the perception of primary colors like myself.

I have been born with eye plumbing that is too narrow and the end result has been diagnosed as "closed end glaucoma". I've had Yag laser surgery performed on both eyes to create neat little holes in my iris so the pressure doesn't build up on my eyes. If the pressure within my eyes build up my retinas will detatch. No guarantees came with the surgery so I am living my visual life to its fullest!!!

My world is percieved in the tones of monochromatic black and white. You gaze at a mountain scene and perceive all of those wonderful colors through your eyes. But you also miss a lot too because you take your color perception for granted. I don't because I don't have any. My view of the mountain is just like a wonderful Ansel Adams black and white photo. My vision or the lack of it allows me to percieve every nuance of shadow, light and refraction of those mysterious photons. I can see things that live up there that you might miss with your perfect vision. I have found arrowheads that were beneath the feet of color sighted persons. That's how much detail I see. That came through a lot of discipline and self motivational training.

If you refer back to my two previous articles you will see that I have preached the nag of training your eyes to observe the world around you so that they can perceive the global as well as the minute aspects within that world. That is coming from where my eyes are at, at this moment.

Every thing I have chosen to shoot with my camera have been strokes of sheer luck. Besides being at the right place at the right time I have also trained my vision to compose my shots right on the spot. The reason is simple. My eyes don't function too well while dithering on my Adobe. (That came out nasty. It wasn't meant too.)

In any case, I can't stress to you how important it is to keep on shooting those shots. Even though the perfection of it is very elusive no matter how good you get.


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Comment by Tim O'Brien on November 7, 2008 at 8:33am
There is a vibrant flickr group for
blind and visually impaired photographers at with an attendant
blog at
Comment by Cathrynn on September 9, 2008 at 9:43am
this is inspirational indeed. Have been concerned lately because my vision has deteriorated a lot due to an eye injection going wrong (well, one eye was obviously a bit weird because I had to have the injection) - but now I see double and blurred and starting photography is a challenge. I have just so been appreciating my sight lately, realising it may not be forever so I admire you greatly. I do believe, though, if someone is deprived of something, one of the sense, somehow they become more aware - as you were saying through observing things that others may not. I can so believe that to be true. Thank you for cheering me up and realising we can do almost anything if we really want to.....Cathrynn X
Comment by Dasiavue on April 26, 2008 at 12:17pm
Excellent blog! Keep up the good work!
Comment by Dawn on April 26, 2008 at 11:59am
I agree with are an inspiration. i had lasik surgery in January and i can see without my glasses, but it has definately affected my far away vision (which was perfect before the surgery), so i do find alot of the photos challenging. Good luck (although you don't need it...your photos are great)

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