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

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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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Jeff Balek loves to be around kids who overcome their obstacles.

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Long snapping instructor Chris Rubio told The Boston Globe that Aaron Golub was “average at best” when he started playing football at Newton South High in Newton, Mass.

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This Blind Runner's Outlook on Life Is Nothing Short of Beautiful

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“Don’t ever say you can’t do it, people, because you can do it,” Jerry Gatton tells Fox 5 in the video below.  “You try to do it. Don’t say, ‘I can’t do it.’ Say, ‘I can do it.’”

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He's a Blind Runner. He Has an Unbelievable Goal. He Needs Your Help.

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David Kuhn knew he couldn’t drive.

He was too emotional, too overwhelmed. He didn’t want to put others at risk by putting his car in gear. So he sat for hours, mulling over the news an optometrist had just given him: His retinas had stretched after an accident months earlier, when a drunk driver crashed into his truck. The damage to his eyes was irreversible. He was going to progressively go blind.

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“You’ve been dealt good hands, and you’ve been dealt bad hands. You’ve won with both, and you’ve lost with both,” he thought to himself. “You’ll just have to play this hand the best you can.”

Today, Kuhn, now 61, is almost completely blind. But he doesn’t spend hours mourning his lost eyesight anymore. He spends hours — a lot of hours — running in DeKalb, Ill., where he lives. He has to. Because he’s training to make an 11,000-mile or more run around the perimeter of the U.S., to raise money for his 11-year-old granddaughter, Kylie, who has cystic fibrosis.

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david and grandson

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“I guess I inspire people, but I don’t think I’m inspiring,” Kuhn says. “I’m the one that’s inspired by my guides. It’s difficult enough to run a race like that alone, but to be thinking about me while pushing through is incredible.”

As he prepares for his round-the-country run, the grandfather of four often thinks about how his blindness has actually become a blessing.

“I see the best side of humanity all the time, people who are there for people with disabilities, who support someone who’s just trying to improve themselves or face a challenge,” Kuhn says.

He misses his eyesight, of course. But if an optometrist told him tomorrow that a new technology or surgery could make him see again, Kuhn would say, “Let’s hold off for a little.” He has a few more cards he’d like to blindly play.

“There are still some things I want to experience without my sight. I want to do this run. I want to complete an Ironman,” he says. “Then, after those things, maybe we could talk about it.”

You can follow Kuhn’s journey on FacebookTwitter and his personal blog.

You can also make a donation to directly finance Kuhn’s run or to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

h/t Runners World

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While Driscoll works with more companies to jump on board – she can’t disclose which ones she’s currently talking with – she’s always upfront about her mission.

“We’re all people,” she repeats to The Mighty. “And at the end of the day acceptance can’t happen until society sees our loved ones as capable.”

Visit Driscoll’s blog to see her complete series, and scroll down to see a few of her perfectly-capable models.

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