"What am I supposed to be looking at?"

Travel is very different when you’re blind. You have different priorities, and very different experiences, when you can’t see properly. Leaving aside the navigational challenges, which are a whole kettle of fish in their own right, this is about what you get from visiting a new place. I love visiting new cities, new countries, and even new continents, but I’m not really one for seeing the sights, visiting the museums and ticking off things in a guide book. I can see pictures of cathedrals, bridges and museums in books and on the web, and I get a much better view of them than in real life. I can read as much history as I want about them without ever going there (although frankly, I’ll lose interest after more than a couple of facts anyway). Visiting new places for me is about the atmosphere: the smells, the sounds, and yes, the visuals too, but mainly, seeing what life is like, rather than what buildings and attractions there are. You’ll see this from my photos. Most of my photos are not the usual tourist things, they’re incidents or angles that just catch my eye. I think sometimes it’s an advantage having poor sight when taking photos – because I have no depth or distance perception, what I see is kind of similar to what you get in a (2D) photo: in other words, I see things in the same way that they appear on film. For example, those pictures where you appear to have a tree growing out of your head, or you’re holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa? That’s how I see in real life. The best thing, though, is when I can blow the picture up later on my computer, and see in much clearer detail exactly what it was I was looking at originally!

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