To coincide with the exhibition of Tom’s work we’re hosting, he will be coming to Brighton to do a talk on his project “Because I Cannot See” which involved collaborating with product designers and the Cornwall Blind Association, to produce portraits of blind and visually impaired people that resulted in traditional photos and 3D tactile versions of them.
Tom will be in conversation with academic and writer, Julian Rodriguez.
Monday 6th October, 7pm (doors at 6pm) at The Miniclick Business Concern at 68MS, Middle Street, Brighton. Free Entry.
This event forms part of our “Another Way of Looking” programme for October, alongside Brighton Photo Fringe / Biennial – click here for all the events in our programme.
You put my meat at 12 o’clock,
My vegetables at three.
You put a fork into my hand,
Because I cannot see.
With you I manage to play bowls,
And dancing I feel free.
When on the bus you make me laugh,
Because I cannot see.
Poem by Reuben T Daniel
‘Because I Cannot See’ is an exhibition that engages people with a sensory experience. I collaborated with Sustainable Product Design students, Rob Dooley and Tom Cowell at Falmouth University and the Cornwall Blind Association to produce a photography exhibition that can be fully experienced by the visually impaired. Alongside traditional photographic prints and captions, the exhibition includes 3D tactile portraits created using specialist computer aided design software and a computer controlled milling machine, as well as audio and braille captions, which served to break down barriers of separation and stigma regarding the blind.
Every year, 1,300 people are diagnosed with sight loss in Cornwall. Cornwall Blind Association (CBA) is the only local charity that exists to improve the lives of visually impaired people in Cornwall, something it has been doing since it was set up over 157 years ago to support miners who were losing their sight due to mining accidents. Now, the Association facilitates clubs ranging from blind bowls to shooting, and dancing to gardening.
I started working with the Cornwall Blind Association in October 2013, documenting the various clubs available to visually impaired people. After a few visits it became clear that photographing the blind felt like a closed system. I began thinking of ways to give something back to the community that was so open and accommodating to me. Rather than explore the unprecedented darkness and depression that sight loss brings, I photographed the positive sides to life, highlighting the help and support that the Cornwall Blind Association offers.
Julian Rodriguez is an academic and writer on photography. He has been Director of Photography at London College of Printing, Dean of Media at University of the Arts London and Head of Media at University College Falmouth. Julian is currently Deputy Chair of Photoworks, Brighton.
The Miniclick Business Concern at 68MS is located in the middle of Brighton, 1 minute from the beach and a ten minute walk to Brighton Train Station. A number of trains run every hour to London (Victoria – 51mins / London Bridge – 56mins / London Blackfriars – 1hr 03mins).