Photo © Karren Visser.
Life and the experiences of people living with sight loss have changed dramatically over the years. We wanted to capture first-hand recollections of what it was like for blind and visually impaired people in childhood and growing up, before these memories are lost.
Sandra Troth, SVI’s Development Worker, and Karren Visser, a partially blind photographer and SVI member, started the project with virtual group discussions. These explored storytelling using personal objects and/or photographs relating to an individual’s early memories of living with blindness.
Ray Gormley, the editor of Sandwell Talking News, recorded the participants sharing their stories. Karren worked with the participants to choose suitable and relevant settings to take photographs.
Karren sought to present the work in an interesting and engaging way using photomontage. She worked with Wojciech Wolocznik, who provided access support to put together each story with audio and photographs.
Karren said: “Photomontage is an approach that I have not tried before in making a project accessible to a diverse audience whilst considering its visual aesthetic. In this instance photomontage also became a device to encourage those who can see to look more closely, to be enticed to listen to the audio recordings or read the transcripts, and to receive a greater sense of what it might be like to have no or limited sight.” The photographs are shown in two parts, reflecting past and present.
Each participant’s story, recorded in their voice, is included with a transcript and photograph. Follow the links below for each one.
You can read more about the project and view the photos and photomontages in more detail on Karren Visser’s website.
Unseen Memories is a Creative Black Country funded oral history-focused project.