A new exhibit in Riverside is showcasing the work of photographers who are working in, or near, total blindness.
"The truth is, these are very visual people. They just can't see. And what they do is populate their minds with images. They crave images the same way we sighted people crave images," curator Douglas McCollohtold Southern California Public Radio.
Although sight may seem like a cornerstone of photography, these artists are proving that's not always true.
"They can look at their images by directing our sight at the images and having sighted people describe it to them. As Eugene Balchar, one of the photographers in this show, says, 'I have never seen that photograph, but I know it exists and it affects me deeply,'" McColloh told SCPR.
According to the gallery's website, this is "the first major museum exhibition on a rich subject full of paradox and revelation. This exhibition occupies the ground zero of photography."
Finally, from a start point in blindness, SIGHT UNSEEN raises questions about sight and photography. Sight is so pervasive and powerful that it makes us unaware of our own blindnesses. We see, and this is so strong that we think we understand. Said another way, sight itself abets blindness. And photographers-more commonly viewed as specialized visionaries-are perhaps the blindest of all. The logic is undeniable. Modern photography is the easiest thing possible. Get a camera, put it on automatic, and press the shutter. The result: photographs.
Regular gallery and museum store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for the general public and free to members, students and seniors. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.