to my website. My name is Rosita McKenzie and I am a freelance Blind Photographer
and Disability Equality Educator. My practice is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I hope you enjoy learning about the services I provide and the artwork I create.
My services include creating fully-accessible
multisensory visual art exhibitions, disability equality training for non-disabled people e.g. arts organisations, companies
and public bodies, web site evaluation in relation to access for people with severe sight loss and a braille translation service.
I began my practice as a blind photographer
in 2006. Ever since, I have been on a profound artistic journey. This experience has not only unleashed my own latent creativity but has raised awareness of visual disability
in a way previously unimagined.
“Blind photographers possess the clearest
vision on the planet… Cultures around the globe have long believed that there is a seeing beyond sight. Blind photographers
chart connections between two worlds: outward sight versus vision with the inner eye.” (Douglas McCulloh, Museum of Photography, University of California Riverside 2009)
Why do I want to take photographs? There are many reasons but perhaps the most compelling is this:
I want the ancient mystery of visual disability to be better understood. Only then will blind and partially-sighted people
be considered equal in society.
By its very nature, my artwork challenges traditional photographic practice and ingrained beliefs about
visual disability. This is clearly evident with my ‘Edinburgh People’ collection of images where subjects were
not expected to gaze into the camera lens. My intension was to capture the natural and ‘pure’ essence of each
subject, not an artificial image, created by a contrived pose or special lighting.
The connecting link between much of my artwork is how the subjects
touch my own life. Inspired by my local high street, my collection: ‘Temptation Denied’ is a perfect example of this.
My image of Ian Tate, an Edinburgh
taxi driver, is another example as it symbolises my appreciation of a reliable and helpful taxi service which allows me independence
and freedom to achieve my aims and objectives. The photo of Ian was taken in
Cockburn Street, Edinburgh
- an architecturally interesting location for a blind photographer. The street
is cobbled and winds steeply uphill to meet the High Street. It is also where
the Stills Photographic Gallery is situated.
To ensure I create the best possible images, I work with a team of sighted assistants
and technicians. They describe environments, how best to use the available light
and check the shots when I need reassurance. My assistants also help me select
my images and prepare for exhibitions.
The Importance of Inclusive Artwork and Accessible Interpretation
arts practice has two equally important parts to it: firstly, my photography and secondly, that my images should be made accessible
to the widest possible audience. For these reasons, I collaborate very closely with artists and specialists of other
disciplines to ensure my exhibitions are fully inclusive.
Clearly, people with severe sight loss are the group
that is too often excluded from the visual art experience. So, by using formats
such as tactile drawings, audio description, ceramic pieces, music, large-print and Braille text, I am able to provide artwork
that visually disabled artists and audiences can engage with.
Tracey and Jeff Scodellaro: “Inspiring
as always! Ceramics look great Smiley face.”
Kevin Harrison: “Strong, delightful
images captured in multiple mediums. I love the texture of the ceramics, the vitality of the people and the sensitive descriptions.
Elizabeth Shinner (nee Fernie) “What
a wonderful idea this is. It would have been good to look in the wise and kind face of Mary McIvor after a gap of 40 years.
She was my Head of Department till 1970!”
Through the medium of digital photography and inclusive interpretation methods, I
am able to make the visual world visible to visually disabled people. At the same time, I reveal my own imagination for sighted
people to see.
In tune with this belief, I have now set
up a Braille translation service for artists and arts organizations.
The service includes:
Braille labelling for individual artworks
Braille wall panels
Braille exhibition guides
So, if your aim is to make your exhibitions
fully inclusive, why not contact me for further information at: email@example.com
Blind Photography Needs New Friends!
Would you like to be one of them?
and sponsors are urgently needed to support several new and exciting projects. If
you can help, please get in touch.