A lack of sight, but no lack of vision

Heidi Pfau is a legally blind photographer. While this may seem like a handicap for any visual artist, Pfau uses her lack of sight as a filter for her digital photography-a reminder that simplicity can be an important element for good picture. At her exhibit “Do You See What I See?” at the Living and Learning gallery last week, Pfau revealed a comprehension and appreciation for visual metaphors, and a natural theme that is well-suited for an autumn exhibition at UVM. Although she has minimal eyesight, a special program on her computer which allows her to enlarge images without sacrificing picture quality, and the help of good friends with better eyesight, Pfau is able to produce the caliber of photographs that she does, according to a write-up she posted on the wall of the exhibit. Next to the write-up was a sheet of paper describing in Braille the motivation for, and the context of, the images she displayed. Most of the photos in the gallery had an organic theme to them, with several images of leafless, sickly, or dead trees. Titles like “Reaching Out,” and “Old Friends,” are depictions of trees that had evidently been struck by lightning, but still have one major branch reaching off to the side-its leafless offshoots stretching across the photograph. Not all of her pieces are so optimistic and inspiring, though. One piece, “Tormented by Titles,” is a shot of a bookshelf overflowing with literature, yet it’s noticeably devoid of any books in Braille (at least as is visible to the naked eye).