Anyone can point a camera at something and push the button. Taking pictures is the easy part, but photography is more than that. Photography is an art and art is hard. There is indeed some substantial difference between the vacation pictures our mother-in-laws take and leave scattered over their coffee tables and the framed prints you find selling in downtown galleries. One fills us with dread and the other fills us with excitement, or respect for the photographer’s ability, at the very least. Who doesn’t look at a professional photograph and want to be able to take a picture like that?

But what if you can’t see? How are you able to draw the inspiration to take these amazing photographs? Not only that, but how are you able to even take them? After all, the world is full of sighted folks who, with their array of point and shoot photographic abilities, can’t take a picture worth remembering. How can blind people take photographs at all, let alone take ones worth a second look or worth remembering?

It might seem strange at first, but, as documented in Seeing Beyond Sight, the new book of photographs compiled by Tony Deifell, it certainly is possible. The photographs come from several years of Deifell having taught a class on photography at a school for the blind. He writes of how even he was unsure of what the pictures would be like. Yet out they came from the darkroom, each roll better than the last. His students were not simply taking pictures, they were making photographs. They were making art.

The book is divided into five sections, each dealing with different aspects of photography and the pictures which were taken. Perhaps the most interesting parts in the book, aside from the captivating and arresting photographs, are the sections in which the students talk about the images they captured, what made them take them, what they were thinking about, and what they sought to accomplish with their pictures.

Losing sight results in one gaining many other things, many heightened senses. There has to be something beyond light and dark which allows these pictures to be the way they are, so simple and yet heartbreakingly complex as well. As this book shows, it turns out that there is a seeing beyond sight.

The book is available at Amazon.

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