Oh, I see! moments
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See Differently: “Blind Sight” Photography Contest

by Meredith Mullins on February 7, 2013

Limpet, a creative inspiration to blind photographer Bruce Hall, who is able to see differently in the creative process

Sea limpet by legally-blind photographer Bruce Hall
© Bruce Hall. All Rights Reserved.

Creative Inspiration Is Born from Seeing Differently

The OIC story on the Creative Process of Blind Photographers provided rich creative inspiration and a definitive “yes” to the question:

Can we see without sight?

The many talented blind and visually impaired photographers who are working today are experienced in seeing differently. They use touch, smell, hearing, memory, and other sensations to “compose” their images and sense the timing of their subjects.

These artists believe that the image comes from within, not from the “outside.” And they prove—beautifully and creatively—that, often, a blind person can have a very clear vision.

Seeing Is about Much More than Sight

These imaginative artists inspired deeper thinking about heightening our other senses to capture a photographic moment.

They inspired a desire to slow down to experience the subtleties and richness of life in the world of modern photography where the accessibility of cameras and the ease of clicking the shutter get in the way of really “seeing.”

They also inspired OIC to create the “Blind Sight” Photography Contest—a call to photographers to share in this Oh, I See Moment—this idea of seeing without sight.

The Blind Sight Photography Contest: An Invitation to All Photographers

We invite photographers from around the world to enter the contest—blind and visually impaired photographers as well as sighted photographers who must, at the moment of image capture, use other senses besides sight to connect with the subject and create the photograph.

Stephanie, woman on motorcycle, captured by blind photographer Pete Eckert in a moment of creative inspiration

“Stephanie” created by blind photographer Pete Eckert
© Pete Eckert. All Rights Reserved.

The Creative Process for the Contest

Blind and visually impaired photographers use their own individual creative processes to make images without sight.

For sighted photographers, we encourage experimentation (with safe practice in mind). If you choose to blindfold yourself or cover your eyes in some way, wander with a sighted partner who can keep you safe. You can also settle in a place (free from dangerous moving things) and just close your eyes.

Use your memory or your sense of hearing, touch, or smell to “compose” your image and to know when to click the shutter. You are on your honor to “see without sight.” The results, we hope, will inspire and surprise you.

You can use your sight or a sighted friend to help you select the photos for the contest. But, you cannot crop or manipulate the photos. They must truly represent your moment of seeing without sight.

How to Enter the Contest

The contest is being conducted from a tab on the OIC Moments Facebook page. The complete rules can be found here, and are also linked on the contest page, but here are the basics:

1. Make your photographs without the use of sight.

man's eyes shut for a photography contest relying on creative inspiration and blind sight

Eyes shut tight
© Thinkstock

2. Use your imagination, memory, intuition, touch, smell, or hearing instead.

3. Write a brief statement, explaining how you took the picture without looking.

4. Submit the photo (uncropped and not manipulated) plus your statement on the Facebook Contest Page (up to five entries). The contest runs from February 8, 2013, through March 15, 2013 (at 11:59 pm PST).

5. Enjoy the creativity of all who participate. You can vote once per photograph per day for your favorites.

Creative Inspiration AND Contest Prizes

The contest finalists will be selected by popular vote on Facebook and announced shortly after the close of the contest. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will then be selected from the finalists by our jury panel, and announced in early April. Prizes are:

$300 Grand Prize

$200 Second Prize

$100 Third Prize

A selection of work, including photographs from all finalists, will be exhibited in an OIC Moments e-book about seeing differently.

We look forward to receiving your imaginative and surprising results and hope that you have many OIC Moments as you see without sight!

UPDATE: The contest has ended, but you can view the winning entries, and many of the other amazing images, in our free Blind Sight Photography ebook. Click the cover below to download your free copy.



Thank you to our contest jurors, Julie Grahame, Jerry Fielder, and Meredith Mullins.

Julie is the publisher of aCurator Magazine, former director of RETNA Photo Agency, and a representative for ClampArt Gallery in New York.

Jerry is a photographer, curator, and Director of the Yousuf Karsh Estate.  

Meredith is a fine-art photographer, photography instructor, and Director of the International Fine Art Photography Competition (and, of course, an OIC blogger). 

artsConnect  Competitions for Artists

Comment on this post below, or inspire insight with your own OIC Moment here.



4 thoughts on “See Differently: “Blind Sight” Photography Contest

  1. Padraic and SoniaDeasy teach photography courses to portrait photographers all over the world. Their techniques of taking the courses is very good and also they teach how to take portrait photography as a business.

  2. Thank you, Jacqueline, for your kind words. It’s support like this that inspires us to continue asking ourselves interesting questions, digging a little deeper, and looking at things in a new way.

  3. You are so awesome! I do not believe I’ve truly read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that’s needed on the web, someone with some originality!

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