• author
    • Julie Parker

    • April 5, 2015 in Columnists

    Unusual camera angle

    Pete Eckert and a couple of his otographs

    “Why does she want to go to the Amazon? She can’t see!” my grandfather spurted out, looking a bit confused.

    We had just left the hospital, where I had taken him to visit Meg — a very dear, old friend who had been diagnosed with cancer. Meg had been present 70 years ago, when he had proposed to my grandmother, who had died the previous year. Both Meg and my grandfather had been coping with the effects of macular degeneration.

    “Because she knows she has other senses,” I replied. “She could hear the water lapping at the side of the boat, hear bird cries, and smell the fragrant flowers.”

    With a thoughtful expression, he silently turned his head toward the car window, allowing the sun’s rays to warm his face.

    I have this annoying habit of pointing out positive aspects of a negative situation. It’s not that I’m a Pollyanna-ish eternal optimist — far from it. I’ve become quite the curmudgeon. However, to my chagrin, when I am personally dealt with an unpleasant situation – regardless of its intensity — I infuriatingly bounce back rather quickly.

    However, just contemplating the “what if” scenario of losing my sight is depressing.  I was blessed with heightened senses, which is one reason I enjoy hiking. It sounds like a cliché, but it truly is a natural high. Tapping into the persuasive argument I tried on my grandfather: if I lost my vision, I could, indeed, still hear the birds and my boot steps as they pounded the dusty trails, smell and touch the flowers, grasses and trees, and enjoy a tastier snack or lunch. But, without my vision, I don’t think I could bear it.

    In this week’s podcast, I speak with blind photographer Pete Eckert, who lost his sight due to Retinitis Pigmentosa when he was a young man. With his blind photographic images, he is changing the outlook of sighted people worldwide.

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