In 1996, Gerardo Nigenda became one of the early pioneers of the seeming oxymoron, “blind photography.” He had been working in a library for the blind in Oaxaca where they had also built an adjacent center for photography. Proximity led him to pick up a camera and what was first a game or experiment soon became his life’s practice, taking pictures he could never see, and often embedding braille imprints like the one above.
“La Mirada Invisible” (The Invisible Eye) showcases work by fifteen Mexican photographers that are blind, following in Nigenda’s footsteps. The exhibition has been touring for two years throughout the country and is now making its last stop in the city of Santiago de Querétaro.
Miguel Angel Herrera, director of the collective ArteSano Buró Cultural which organized the show and sponsors workshops for the blind, explains what might appear to be the paradox of the form:
People often think that blind people cannot take pictures, as if the ability to produce images was determined by how well your eyes work. It’s like [blind Cuban artist] Eladio Reyes has said, “The word ‘image’ doesn’t come from seeing, but from imagination.” Photographs taken by blind people enrich the medium because they involve other senses in the process: hearing, taste, touch, smell.
Sounds promising, and it seems like it might do some other photographers well if they took a long good whiff of their subjects every now and then. “La Mirada Invisble,” Group Show, thru Mar 1, Musée d’art de Querétaro, Mexico (Lead Photo: Gerardo Nigenda, Primer Patio CFAB)