When Pete Eckert found out he was going to lose his sight to retinitis pigmentosa 27 years ago, he was well on his way to becoming an architect, receiving acceptances from graduate programs. One day a doctor coolly told him, he had RP and left the room without further comment. It was only later while listening to Dr. Dean Edell, on a San Francisco TV network, that he learnt RP is a genetic eye condition that leads to permanent blindness, and understood that he would go completely blind.
Today Eckert is an award-winning photographer, who uses his photography to create “a bridge between the world of the blind and sighted.” Photography is in many ways therapeutic for Eckert.
One day while cleaning out a drawer he chanced upon his mother in laws’ old Kodak camera. At the time he thought, a blind guy doing photos in a non-visible wavelength would be amusing. He was hooked, even though he knew nothing about film or manual cameras.
After about a thousand questions at the local camera store and an unsuccessful attempt at reading up about photography, due to the lack of proper books and assistive technologies. Eckert realized he was on his own. He then bought his own computer and talking scanner, and taught himself how to use the adaptive software.
What followed were a series of photographic exhibitions around the world, and a spate of night time photography excursions around the city, along with his guide dog. Talking about his photography, Eckert says, “The byproduct (of the process) is an image for sighted people, but the event is an image for me.” “The product is what I bring into the sighted world, but I’m very clear about not mixing the two so that the work of blindness is not tainted by the sighted world.”
Today Eckert has a number of exhibitions and awards to his name, and although he still struggles against the stigma and people's perception of his blindness he says, "Women talk about a glass ceiling. Blind folks face a glass front door. We can look into the workplace but aren’t allowed to enter. I do something else. I slip photos under the door from the world of the blind to be viewed in the light of the sighted."
Source: peteeckert.com and petapixel.com