PDN Photo of the Day

Jane Evelyn Atwood Pictures the Blind

In 1980, Jane Evelyn Atwood became the first recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Award for her work with the blind, one of a number of longterm, documentary-style projects in which Atwood has followed groups and individuals at the edges of society. Tough, tender and surreal, Atwood’s images depict intimate moments driven by emotional body language, finding unexpected grace in moments of suffering and isolation. Atwood’s study of blind children was made over the course of ten years, in schools in France (where she has lived since 1971), Australia, Israel, Japan and the U.S. “The idea of photographing the blind came to me as a very personal curiosity for people who do not see, and yet must live in a sighted world,” she writes in a statement. “I wanted to know what that meant exactly, not to see, and how these people who do not see were coping. I have often been struck in the streets of Paris by how people had a perceptive look at the blind, with condescension, pity, horror, and even fear. I also noticed that the sighted often speak to the blind with a kind of contempt, as if they were idiots. Or they do not talk to them at all, as if being blind made them invisible.”

Atwood gives an artist talk on March 2 at Aperture Gallery in New York City, presented by Aperture Foundation in collaboration with the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund.

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Blind Captain

Robin Hammond Wins $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Fund Grant (For PDN subscribers; login required)

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