See What We See was a day-long photography workshop held on 11 June 2019, designed creatively to explore the psychology of sight loss with Sandwell Visually Impaired (SVI) participants, students and staff from the Department of Photography at Sandwell College. The workshop was supported by seed funding from Creative Black Country. It followed a talk I gave about adapting my photography to accommodate deteriorating sight to Sandwell College students, staff and alumni on 9 April 2019.
The workshop involved a combination of studio portraits, still-life photography and photographing in the immediate environs of West Bromwich. The emphasis was on shared learning, raising awareness of sight impairment, and producing visually strong images. Students adjusted their camera settings for the first photography session so that they could gain an idea of what it is like to be sight impaired. I encouraged the students to consider the use of natural and/or artificial lighting to take into account the following: light sensitivity; suitable colours that are better registered by those with certain eye conditions like retinitis pigmentosa; textures that are helpful to white cane users; and the logistics of having guide dogs at the workshop. A photography student was involved in documenting the process with audio-visual recordings. In the afternoon there was a discussion of our photographs and the experience.
A selection of images created in the workshop was printed for Multistory’s Blast Festival and an exhibition at Sandwell College. This, combined with the sharing of the workshop material through social media, invited a wider audience to consider what it is like to be blind or visually impaired.
“Thank you for sharing the amazing work with us at Sandwell College yesterday. . . I really enjoyed your personal take on the narrative you have captured with your observations. Beautiful strong imagery was inspirational.” Kay Choudri, Sandwell College Alumnus, Fashion Photographer.