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Through the lens of the visually impaired: An eye for detail

A photograph of Mahesh Umrannia, a visually impaired Sitar player by his fellow participant Harsh Vyas

A photograph of Mahesh Umrannia, a visually impaired Sitar player by his fellow participant Harsh Vyas

Students of The Victoria Memorial School for The Blind perform Malkhamb. Photograph by Mahesh Umrannia
Students of The Victoria Memorial School for The Blind perform Malkhamb. Photograph by Mahesh Umrannia

What: What’s common between a 29-year-old professional sitar player, an employee at an IT firm and a solicitor? They’re visually impaired and the frames taken by these individuals are a part of the photography exhibition titled, The Blind View, to be held in Mumbai and Bangalore. Organised by Sightsavers (a registered charity) along with Beyond Sight Foundation (a photography initiative), and supported by Her Highness Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi (member of the royal family of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah), the event will showcase 20 photographs by 10 visually impaired participants. 

Solicitor Kanchan Pamnani using OCR (Optical Character Reader) that reads documents aloud, clicked by fellow participant Bhavesh Patel
Solicitor Kanchan Pamnani using OCR (Optical Character Reader) that reads documents aloud, clicked by fellow participant Bhavesh Patel

Bhavesh Patel uses a Braille keyboard on his iPhone, clicked by Kanchan Pamnani
Bhavesh Patel uses a Braille keyboard on his iPhone, clicked by Kanchan Pamnani

How: “This is an advocacy campaign where we are demonstrating that if we offer an enabling environment, the visually impaired can lead an independent life. The brief was to capture how they lead their lives in a city like Mumbai,” says Amal Gupta, senior manager, brand and communications at Sightsavers.

Visually impaired booksellers on streets by Sandhaya Umrannia
Visually impaired booksellers on streets by Sandhaya Umrannia

From the challenges of boarding a local train to even making use of technology to aid their daily activities, the photographs provide an insight into the blind experience. At the onset, a training workshop was conducted on how to hold the camera, use different angles, etc.

Getting into a Mumbai local. Photograph by Sandhaya Umrannia
Getting into a Mumbai local. Photograph by Sandhaya Umrannia

All the photographs have been clicked using either digital cameras or smart phones. Through public voting, the three most popular photographs from Mumbai, coupled with those from Bangalore, will make it to the final gala showcase in Delhi.

Dharamrajan Iyer uses a device that read aloud labels on containers in his kitchen. Photograph taken by his fellow participant Harsh Vyas
Dharamrajan Iyer uses a device that read aloud labels on containers in his kitchen. Photograph taken by his fellow participant Harsh Vyas

“We’ve also put up an online petition on change.org that will be submitted to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, asking to make public transport and other products and services more accessible to the visually impaired,” says Gupta.

Where: On: August 1 and 2, 11 am to 10 pm
At: Ground floor promenade, InOrbit Mall, Malad (W).

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