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Sight Unseen: Blind Photographers

How can someone be a blind photographer? Or rather, why would someone want to be? A new exhibit on display at the University of California Riverside/California Museum of Photography explores these questions, through art created by some of the world's most renowned blind photographers. Evgen Bavcar, one of the featured artists in the Sight Unseen exhibit, says, "My images are fragile; I've never seen them, but I know they exist, and some of them have touched me deeply."

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Bavcar and the other 11 artists featured in Sight Unseen all use different techniques to capture their images. The New York-based Seeing With Photography Collective uses sighted assistants to help frame photographs and adjust lighting. Using a long exposure, the photographer paints light into the darkened room with a flashlight. The result: distorted and somewhat haunting images. Kurt Weston uses a scanner to capture the toll of disease. Pete Eckert constructs elaborate sets in his backyard and uses laser pointers and other focused beams of light to create images like "Electroman."

Close your eyes and imagine what you would want to photograph. Photographing in total darkness allows these artists to control what the sighted may see, and the result is a compelling take on reality. You can experience "Sight Unseen" at UCR/CMP until Aug. 29, 2009.

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