September 16, 2010

365 Project: Day 137

One of my worst fears is losing my sight. Its a completely unfounded and irrational fear. As far as I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with my eyes. I wear glasses to see far away and I have terrible vision at night, but aside from that, there is no reason for me to fear going blind. I think I fear it because its the most devastating thing I can think of happening to me. As a photographer and artist, my sight is everything to me. I can't imagine feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin, but not having the ability to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of a sunset. Living in a world of darkness is terrifying to me. I get most of my inspiration from looking at the world around me: paintings, photographs, architecture, little moments in my daily life...if I could no longer see these things, what would my life be like? I don't know that I would have the strength to continue to try to create. Its been hard enough to lose my inspiration, if I ever lost my sight I think I would fall apart.

| Artists Wanted | In Focus : Pete Eckert from Artists Wanted on Vimeo.

Pete Eckert is such an inspiration to me. Pete is the embodiment of my worst fear and yet he still creates beautiful imagery, even without his sight. I've read several articles about him in the past, but when I came across this video it really touched me. I've seen it before, but I still cried the entire time I watched it. His story, his life, and his perseverance overwhelm me. Even as I write this, I feel emotion welling in my throat. Pete wasn't always blind. He grew up wanting to be an artist. He even went to art school for sculpture and industrial design. He wanted to study architecture at Yale. It wasn't until later in life that he lost his sight due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. He says that now sound gives him vision. Having to touch and hear in order to see is unimaginable to me. How can you see a painting with your fingers?

Pete says, "Women talk about a glass ceiling. Blind folks face a glass front door. We can look into the workplace but aren’t allowed to enter. I do something else. I slip photos under the door from the world of the blind to be viewed in the light of the sighted. I view my work during the event of taking the shot in my minds eye. I “see“ each shot very clearly, only I use sound, touch, and memory. I am more of a conceptual artist than a photographer. My influences come from my past memory of art and what I now find in the world at large. I now ask to touch sculptures in museums too. That’s another long story."
The images he creates are incredible. He paints with light and captures things in a way that I would never dream of. His work makes me think that my sight could be viewed as a handicap to my creativity. It limits my perception of the world to a single sense. I have to ask myself: why don't I use my other four senses when I'm creating? Because my work is visual, I rely mostly on my sight, but what could I create if I couldn't see? It opens a whole new world of possibility. So what am I afraid of?

Visit Pete's website to read about his story and to view his portfolio:

1 comment:

OneCraftyFox said...

This post makes a lot of sense, in many ways. We rely so much on our sight, and for many artisans, it is our lifeline.

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