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Out of Sight.
December 15, 2008 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Out of Sight : Photographer Sarah Wilson photographs the prom at Texas' School for the Blind & Visually Impaired. [via]

Bugmenot for Texas Monthly: blahblah@blah.com
posted by grapefruitmoon (38 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Forgot to mention in "More About" - photographs are in "Multimedia" on the Texas Monthly page and under "Portfolio -> Blind Prom 08" on Sarah Wilson's homepage (unable to directly link that one, THNX FLASH).
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:12 PM on December 15, 2008


You left out the password, but I guessed it anyway. I'm a regular Kevin Mitnick, I am.
posted by pazazygeek at 4:16 PM on December 15, 2008


D'OH. I can not brain today. I have teh dumb.

Password: blah.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:24 PM on December 15, 2008


It only lets me see one page and then gives me the login prompt again.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:25 PM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hrm. I'm not sure what to tell you about that - I mainly linked for the photos and can't seem to find a good way to make them accessible without a few steps to get at them.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:30 PM on December 15, 2008


It seems like there are plenty of photos on the homepage if you just ignore the constant suggestion to go to the Texas Monthly slideshow. Or are there different ones in each place?
posted by felix grundy at 4:33 PM on December 15, 2008


Photographer website. Therefore Flash, of course. What the hell is wrong with photographers, anyway?

Do you suppose when they frame their prints they use frames with so many blinking lights and spinning things and that they require three-phase power to work right?
posted by rokusan at 4:40 PM on December 15, 2008


Photographer website. Therefore Flash, of course. What the hell is wrong with photographers, anyway?

I think it splits evenly between those who feel it's an artier presentation and those who think it prevents people from stealing their images.

Wrong on both counts, of course.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:46 PM on December 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Aha. Thanks felix grundy, I didn't even think of looking at the photographer's homepage.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:46 PM on December 15, 2008


The photos in Texas Monthly are in "Soundslides," an easy program that lets photographers add sound to a slideshow and turn it into multimedia. It's the current darling of online newspapers because it's easy to use and lets papers make their photographers do sound as well as shoot.

I loved the photos, but could have done without the audio.
posted by cccorlew at 4:48 PM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the post. The slideshow was very nice. I liked hearing the photographer's explanation.
posted by gnutron at 4:55 PM on December 15, 2008


I dunno, I just feel kind of...wrong looking at prom where the goers can't see it themselves.
posted by sixcolors at 5:01 PM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brilliant post, thanks for sharing.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:07 PM on December 15, 2008


I just feel kind of...wrong looking at prom where the goers can't see it themselves.

Yeah I feel sort of the same way sometimes myself, like whe---

Oh. Nevermind.
posted by rokusan at 5:21 PM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Awesome, people who won't complain about how their picture turned out. *Adds 'blind prom' to list of potential pro bono work*
posted by mullingitover at 5:23 PM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


No Austin tag?

Some real winners in this set. I like the picture of "Lee." If these kids could only see themselves...
posted by Curry at 5:32 PM on December 15, 2008


Great idea posting this. Thanks muchly.
posted by woodway at 5:51 PM on December 15, 2008


Who were these taken for?
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 5:58 PM on December 15, 2008


Even though it's a bit of a speed bump, I encourage everybody to read the article, not just look at the pictures-- it's a very interesting piece, as is the school.
posted by stresstwig at 6:08 PM on December 15, 2008


Some real winners in this set. I like the picture of "Lee." If these kids could only see themselves...

They can't, and that's the fucking point. What kind of person makes fun of blind kids? If only you could see how others viewed you at this moment in time.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:49 PM on December 15, 2008


What kind of person makes fun of blind kids?

Who said anything about making fun of blind kids? I was musing that I wish these beautiful people could see how great they look. Jesus Christ.
posted by Curry at 7:13 PM on December 15, 2008


Well, then you should know that in every single instance of anyone using the phrase "real winners," when referring to a group of people, it's dripping with sarcasm and means the complete opposite of "winner." I've never heard anyone use that phrase in a literal sense.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:19 PM on December 15, 2008


I can't be the only person who read that as "pr0n" first.
posted by Casuistry at 7:21 PM on December 15, 2008


I once interviewed this blind man for
five hours as research for a story i was
working on and the sense of touch was
far more important to him than sight.

I suspect that at a prom, where your
main focus is to dance with other people,
they are far more interested in who
they are close to than what they can see.

I don't think you have to feel bad that
you can see their prom, and they can't.
posted by Sully at 7:29 PM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


MaryDellamorte - Well, then you should know that in every single instance of anyone using the phrase "real winners," when referring to a group of people, it's dripping with sarcasm and means the complete opposite of "winner." I've never heard anyone use that phrase in a literal sense.

Curry's use right there may be the first, then.

Back on topic, I'm really not sure what to make of these photos... What is the point, exactly? It all makes me a bit uneasy, and I can't quite put my finger on why.
posted by Dysk at 7:39 PM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


What a beautiful, poignant photo essay. Loved it.
posted by ORthey at 8:02 PM on December 15, 2008


They look like they're all happy and having fun, and so I thought these were lovely and not strange at all.

Thanks for posting. Now I wish I'd picked up the magazine that month.
posted by idigress at 8:07 PM on December 15, 2008


This is a great written and photographed piece. (I used texasmonthly@bugmenot.com/ bugmenot)
posted by unknowncommand at 8:26 PM on December 15, 2008


I watched the soundslides on the Texas Monthly page and found the audio kind of annoying. And then I got to the end of it and found it really annoying. It seemed like a minute-long interjection about Wilson's boyfriend's related project, which somehow threw into question why she photographed this subject.

I know it obviously wasn't as advertisement for her boyfriend's doc, but the spiel at the end really bugged me, for some reason.
posted by riane at 8:29 PM on December 15, 2008


riane, the boyfriend stuff was irritating, I agree.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:46 PM on December 15, 2008


Also related/featuring students at the Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired: "Keep Your Ear on the Ball
offers an up-close look at four teens who have lost their sight. Follow their struggles to live independently, fit-in, and prepare for their futures. "

Trailers here: Standard and Audio-described
posted by NikitaNikita at 11:20 PM on December 15, 2008


If several people discover a site with great photos and they try to share the site with their friends, but many of their friends have trouble seeing the photos because of passwords and flash and slideshows and the like, I bet the odds are greatly increased that at least one of the discoverers will steal and repackage those pictures to make it easier for everyone's mom to email them to everyone else.

I still can't see the damned newspaper slideshow (maybe blocked from work), but I managed to see the pictures in the photographer's portfolio:
1. Go to http://www.sarahwilsonphotography.com/
2. Click Portfolio
3. Click Blind Prom 2008
4. Click the X (close the little "Blind Prom 2008" box; don't click the "go to slideshow" link)
4. Use the Backward and Forward buttons to see the photos on the photographer's site.
posted by pracowity at 1:04 AM on December 16, 2008


No, no, it's not a badly-designed Flash website: it's performance art. It's giving sighted people an idea of what it's like to try to use badly-designed inaccessible websites when you're a blind screenreader user but really want to use a particular website.

See how much it sucks? Make your websites accessible.

It isn't really performance art, I'm Making A Point.
posted by alasdair at 2:52 AM on December 16, 2008


Jesus...

I read your post as:

Photographer Sarah Wilson photographs the porn at Texas' School for the Blind & Visually Impaired.

I was wondering what visually impaired porn would look like.

That's why I'm here.

Where's the offensive braille bits?
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:34 AM on December 16, 2008


"I dunno, I just feel kind of...wrong looking at prom where the goers can't see it themselves."
I can understand that, but whether or not you really should feel that way depensds, I think, on what you ultimately get out of looking at the pictures. Even if your reason for looking at them in the first place was just morbid curiosity (and I'm not saying it was), if you learned something from the experience, then there's no reason to feel bad.

I've been visually impaired all my life. I've met more than a few people who've gushed about how they can't imagine being in my situation and how "amazing" I am. Some people have gone so far as to express a sort of awed, pitying reverence for the fact that I do the same boring stuff they do every day: drop off the dry cleaning, pick up some groceries, go to work, and so on. Some are surprised to learn that I'm married, and that my husband isn't disabled.

I'm ordinary. These kids are ordinary. People with disabilities are just ordinary people with disabilities. They have to do some things differently than their non-disabled peers, but believe me, they find ways to do them.

I'd love for people to see that normalcy, that ordinariness, because I believe it would enable them to see past the physical difference to the real people who have them.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 7:54 AM on December 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


So, Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger, you actually have to listen to all of these comments? I apologize for my wordiness.

How does MetaFilter rate in terms of usability for the visually impaired? I guess you don't miss the image tag, but what does ASCII art of a rabbit with a pancake on its head sound like?
posted by pracowity at 2:17 AM on December 17, 2008


@ Pracowity - Ha! Okay, I don't use a screen reader, but imagining a robotic voice going "WAFFLES WAFFLES WAFFLES" and trying to cope with pancake-bunny ASCII art makes me giggle. One of my friends uses the screen reader JAWS. I'll have to ask her to check MetaFilter out and see how accessible it is for her.

I don't use a screen reader, but I do change some settings to make my machine more user-friendly. I have a giant monitor, which is set to the lowest possible resolution and a color temp. of 75. I use large fonts, icons and cursers. My browser text size is set to "LEGIBLE FROM ORBIT". I frequently run into problems with overlapping text and weird word-wrapping on webpages.

Windows has a built-in screen magnifier, but its options are limited. I've had some success using MAGIc, but on older machines, it slowed performance to a crawl.

On the whole, I find MetaFilter pretty accessible. My only complaint (and it's not much of a complaint) are the AskMe and MetaTalk background colors. Thosre are absolutely eye-crossing on longer threads (mind you, I'm reading at a distance of about three inches).
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 11:45 AM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


My only complaint (and it's not much of a complaint) are the AskMe and MetaTalk background colors.

I don't like them either, but it's fixable. On your profile page, select the "plain" theme, which switches to a white background for everything.
posted by pracowity at 1:00 PM on December 17, 2008


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