When Two Worlds Collide, Good Things Can Happen

The worlds of art and technology at first glance may seem far apart, or too different from each other to be compatible, but in my case, the two go hand in hand. Since I’m a legally blind photographer, it would be impossible for me to practice my art without today’s technology.

For example, I use a point-and-shoot digital camera instead of the older cameras where you had to develop pictures in a darkroom or send them off to a lab. Yes, you can still make photographs that way, but my visual impairment prevents me. This is where technology comes in.

The second way technology helps me to create my art is my 47-inch computer monitor. This is where I view the photos I’ve snapped but can’t see on my camera screen. I simply upload my captures onto my PC and view them on my large monitor, sometimes zooming in for an even closer look. This is where my former art education comes in. I use my creativity to choose which photos to keep, and which to discard, based on composition, contrast, subject, etc.

Besides helping me to express my creativity, technology also helps keep me connected to a visual world that gets blurrier and blurrier. Instead of reading regular print books, I zoom in on e-books and read that way, or listen to audiobooks. I may not be able to see a painting at an art gallery, but can zoom in on it via my computer monitor. I can’t read a regular newspaper, but can online. I can’t surf an iPad with my eyes, but I can ask Siri to open up a particular video to listen to. I can’t see my own finger paintings very well until I scan them into my computer. You get the idea.

If you’ve ever wondered if you could still be creative with a visual impairment, well, the answer is yes. But even I had doubts through the years. And then as vision loss progressed, I found new ways to keep doing the things I loved. I replaced sketching with finger painting; finger painting with photography. Of the arts I enjoy, writing is the least visual among them, and I’ve done it the longest, since 2002 when my visual impairment, RP, forced me to retire from social work.