1.3 million Americans are blind. Some of them are photographers.
Many of those belonging to the blind photography community have relied on resourcefulness and creativity to maintain their artistry. Alex Dejong, who lost his sight in 2006 to a brain tumor, relied on touch-enabled voiceovers on the then new iPhone 3GS. He and others like him have also relied on sonar-aid for image capturing, such as the vOICe app that plays contrasting levels of sound according to brightness levels. For all of its bluster, blindness didn’t seem to hinder photographers too much—except for the fact that they still couldn’t see their work.
“With eSight, you would be able to read this fine print, even if you are legally blind or living with vision loss.”
But a visor that resembles Star Trek’s Geordi La Forge may change the game for these people. Asserting that #EveryoneDeservesToSee, eSight uses a high-speed, high-definition camera to capture and display imagery virtually close to real-time. By wearing the device, users absorb imagery through two OLED screens placed directly in front their eyes; with the help of a hand-held remote control, they are free to adjust light, zoom in and out of captured images, as well as freeze footage. The freeze feature is particularly useful in reading street signage.
In an interview with Black Rising Star, Timothy O’Brien spoke out about the difficulties of being a blind daredevil in the photography industry. He is resistant to relying solely on sonar viewfinders for the perfect shot, a difficulty eSight may be ready to remedy. O’Brien, too, has found difficulty in finding new subjects to photograph, given that he cannot drive or take public transportation on his own.
“Finding interesting people, places and points of view requires the ability to move around. Lugging gear on the bus is no fun and relying on the kindness of friends and family for wheels gets old quickly,” O’Brien said in the interview.
In addition to being able to see their own artwork, blind photographers can, through eSight, lay claim to a new sense of freedom.
eSight has its own set of limitations for those in need. Currently, the eSight 3 is on sale for $10,000, and remains uncovered by most forms of health insurance. However, the company’s “vision advocates” are able to assist eSight hopefuls in finding public or private sponsorship.
“With eSight, you would be able to read this fine print, even if you are legally blind or living with vision loss. If you are sighted, do not take your sight for granted. Please get your eyes checked regularly,” writes eSight on its webpage.