Vancouver visually impaired students expand experience with photography

first_imgMisty Sahlbom, 16, traced her fingers across a statue of a running girl at the Washington State School for the Blind.There’s plenty to feel in the twisting, sculpted metal pieces that form the statue’s body — which means, for Misty, there’s plenty for others to see, even if she can’t.This is the school’s photography program, giving visually impaired and blind students a shot at an art form dominated by sighted people. Students feel, smell and listen their way through their surroundings, working with an adult volunteer to compose a photo that matches what’s in their mind’s eye.“It allows visually impaired and blind students the opportunity to explore the world and see what’s out there,” said Nolan Schaffer, a 17-year-old junior at the school.The program is the brainchild of Gary Scott, a Vancouver photographer and retired photojournalist who has been volunteering at the school for nearly a decade. The students’ photos are currently on display at Vancouver City Hall.Scott has amblyopia, more commonly known as “lazy eye,” a common condition in which the brain fails to fully communicate with one or both eyes. It means he knows a bit about what his students are experiencing and how he can help them experience the world in other ways.last_img read more