The Blind Photographer

At a time when anyone with a cell phone is a photographer, it takes the sensitivity and vision of the blind to see that a picture can be much more than a Snapchat cat-on-a-lap or celebrity selfie. In The Blind Photographer (its title embossed in Braille on the jacketless cover), editor Julian Rothenstein selects striking examples from dozens of blind or partially sighted photographers, and bookends them with a thoughtful introduction from once-blind novelist Candia McWilliam and a heartfelt afterword by Jorge Luis Borges, who was blind for the last 30 years of his life.

After a chapter answering the obvious question "How Do They Do It" (with helpers, by touch and slowly), the splendid array of mostly color plates captures sensitive portraits, still lifes, panoramas and dramatic set pieces. Particularly arresting are Gerardo Nigenda's black-and-white nudes overlaid with Braille poetry that suggests love's "sensual tactility." Borges best summarizes the power behind these images: "in the good of heaven there can also be darkness... who can know himself more than the blind man?" --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

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