Rosita McKenzie Photography

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picture of Rosita with her camera
Rosita with camera

Welcome 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

 My 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. 

 

Quotes

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. Wonderful.”

 

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

        Guidance on presentation

 

So, if your aim is to make your exhibitions fully inclusive, why not contact me for further information at:  rositamckenzie@blueyonder.co.uk

 

Blind Photography Needs New Friends!

 

Would you like to be one of them?

 

Commissioners and sponsors are urgently needed to support several new and exciting projects.  If you can help, please get in touch. 

Edinburgh taxi driver Ian Tate standing beside his
Ian Tate, Edinburgh People 2010

flowers in Portobello High Street, Edinburgh
Flowers, Temptation Denied 2007

wooden bridge over Water of Leith, Edinburgh
Colonies, Sight Unseen 2009

picture of daisies growing wild
Crazy Daisies, Two voices 1 2006

click here to contact me

 

Mary with her back turned to the camera in her gar
Mary McIver, Edinburgh People 2010