The Incredible Way a Blind and Deaf Photographer ‘Saw’ His Work for the First Time


Photography might not seem like an ordinary profession for a man who is blind and deaf, but Brendan Borellini is anything but ordinary.

The Australian man was born with congenital deafness and partial blindness, which eventually grew into total blindness. Borellini first picked up a camera as a joke, pretending to snap pictures to get a laugh, according to an Open ABC-produced video’s description (below). However, with proper mentorship, photography soon became a full-blown passion.

Borellini’s interest began after meeting Steve Mayer-Miller. Mayer-Miller is the Artistic Director for Crossroads Arts, a local organization that specializes in bringing fine arts to people with disabilities. Together, they started taking photos with Mayer-Miller giving Borellini a little assistance in pointing the camera.

For so long, the only way Borellini could understand the work that he loved doing was by having other people describe it to him. Mayer-Miller gave him feedback on things like composition, lighting and shutter effect through the use of a device that converts text into Braille. However, it wasn’t long before both decided that this wouldn’t be enough.

“This led to researching devices that would enable a photograph, a two-dimensional photograph to become a three-dimensional photograph, and he would be able to at least interpret the textures in that photograph,” Mayer-Miller says in the video.

Thanks to the power of 3D printing, Borellini can use his hands to feel the composition and style of the photos he takes, according to 3DPrint.com.

“I can recognize the elements of the image; I think it’s very impressive to be able to feel the photos I have taken,” he says, by way of a translator, in the video.

This isn’t the first time Borellini has impressed people with his talents. In 1989 he won the award for “Young Australian of the Year” when he became the first deaf and blind person to be placed into a standard high school curriculum.

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