Blindness touches on one of the intellectual dilemmas of the photographer which push him to investigate his opposite and search for what is reflected in the mirror. Four years Stefano De Luigi spent documenting the various realities faced by the visually impaired around the world. “What is the colour of blindness? I have often wondered when I see a blind person, his faraway gaze that is so different from the gaze of a sighted person, a gaze that is distracted and wanders all over the place. What colour? What intensity?” De Luigi’s way of speaking through images draws from the noble school of photojournalism. But the realities that confront him spur him to look for a way of bearing witness through suggestions and approaches that avoid both compassion and blame.
Giovanna Galvenzi, from Blanco
De Luigi began this series in India, in 2003, where he was working on a commission for the International ONG CBM to produce photographs with which the group could publicize its services for the blind. When the assignment ended, De Luigi found that his fascination had only just begun. He was to spend the next four years shooting at hospitals and schools for the blind in sixteen countries. (I’m reminded of a similar creative origin story, relayed by Alana Newhouse in the Times Magazine: it recently came to light that Roman Vishniac’s famous series of photos of pre-war Polish shtetl life began as a commission for the Joint Distribution Committee, a relief organization dedicated to helping threatened Jews worldwide.)
Rollo Romig, The New Yorker