Peter White talks to Stephen Hallett and Cheryl Gabriel, who along with professional photographer Chloe Gewe Mathews, ran a workshop with a group of blind radio journalists organised by the UK charity PhotoVoice in Beijing.
The idea of non-visual or sensory photography is to give blind people a voice through the medium of photography, using their other senses rather than sight. This course was designed to give blind and partially sighted people basic skills and techniques to operate a digital camera and take photographs of things that are important to them. Part of the course was a music exercise which Peter also experienced in the studio. He was played an extract of music and at the end he was asked to describe what was in his mind whilst listening. He said that he had a strong image of horses running and he was also reminded of his violin lessons.
In Beijing during the workshop one of the blind participants Li Ning, who has never seen, took a photograph of herself. Another participant Yan Shuang managed to capture a water droplet. All the participants were enthused by being able to participate in the powerful and visual language that is photography.