The senses of the blind are beautifully and intriguingly captured in this series of photos taken by sightless Nepalese youths. Photo documentarian Sergey Stroitelev has created a photo project in Kathmandu unlike any other. The project was undertaken to give a new experience both to blind people, who seldom are asked to portray the visual world to sighted people, and to all the rest of us, here given a rare opportunity to appreciate the perspective of the blind–and to appreciate the gifts we have.
The project was completed in late summer in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, in co-operation with the Association for Blind People. It involved 12 blind/partially sighted young people residing in the city.
The idea of the project was to give single-use cameras to the city’s youth and ask them to take pictures of the things and people they wanted to see but could not because of their blindness. I always believed that the blind people have increased sensitivity to the environment around them and a rich inner world. By the means of photography I wanted to prove it.
I wanted participants to start feeling more confident in the things they were doing after taking part in this project. I was also sure that it was not necessary to have perfect vision to make good photographs, and to display this fact was the other aim of the initiative.
During the first meeting with the participants I distributed the cameras and conducted a small orientation class in order to explain to them how to use the cameras. I gave the young people a week to finish their rolls. After that, we met again and had a discussion about the experience they had. I collected the cameras for to develop the film. We all waited for the results with great impatience.
After four days of I finally got the images and I was astonished by them. The pictures of the participants displayed very simple things in quite an artistic manner–sky, trees, water, cityscapes, friends and family members–the things sighted people see every single day. However, we do not even think about the fact that some people are deprived of this opportunity. The images I had were full of sense and feeling.
Sometimes blind people are not understood by the sighted part of society, and are even discriminated against by it. The result of the project–brilliant images by the participants–should stand as testament that despite a disability to see, blind people are very sensitive and smart. They need support and assistance from the community to develop the talents they have. I also hope that after seeing the images sighted people will understand that they have a gift–to see–and they must cherish it.
Sergei Stroitelev was born in 1985 in Leningrad, Russia. He a documentary photographer working on long-term photography projects with a particular interest in human rights issues in Russia and Asia.
He is a graduate of Saint Petersburg School of Photojournalism, and is the winner of the a “Golden Mark” award for best diploma project for his work on the Maidan revolution in Ukraine, where he spent two months documenting the events.
He has also been awarded prizes including winner of Young Photographers of Russia Photofestival 2014 for the series of pictures from Maidan “Flashes,” winner of Saint-Petersburg Photofestival 2014 for a series of pictures from Maidan “Flashes,” winner of Fotoevolution Festival 2013 (Kostroma, Russia) in the “Reportage” category, finalist of Miami Street Photography Festival 2013, second place at RusArtPhoto Festial 2013 (Suzdal’, Russia) in the “Portrait” category, and third place at Visible Features of the Era Photofestival 2013 in the “Life as an overcoming” category.
He has collaborated with numerous magazines including Life Force, VICE, Wall Street International magazine, Around the World, Russian Reporter, Neva Times, Lenta.ru, Colta.ru.
“I believe that photography can change the world for the best. By making documentary projects a photographer can raise awareness about social problems all around the world, accordingly giving knowledge to the individuals who are willing to help but do not know anything about particular issues. In this way we can together fight diseases, poverty and violence.”
– Sergey Stroitelev
By Sergey Stroitelev