Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Blind photographer's work to be showcased at festival

Rosita McKenzie
Image caption Rosita McKenzie's pictures will be shown at the Edinburgh Art Festival

A blind photographer's exhibition will be one of the highlights of an arts festival in Edinburgh.

Rosita McKenzie, 56, from the city's Portobello, is to have her pictures of Edinburgh people showcased in the Central Library on George IV Bridge as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

Completely blind from the age of 12, Mrs McKenzie homes in on "people's personalities" to capture the right shot.

The exhibition begins on 12 August.

Speaking to the BBC Scotland news website she said she never thought she would be able to take photographs.

She said: "This whole process helps me to burn something into my memory, something I can use to recall as images in your head can become less clear.

"People explain to me more about the things that are around me when I have my camera.

"I can imagine what the person looks like as for example with [artist] Mary MacIver I have hugged her and touched her hair.

"It is also her personality, which says so much to me as she is very shy so I took a picture of her from behind.

"I have had photographers say that I have captured things they would not have been able to for example I took a picture of a bridge of the Edinburgh Canal and in the bottom right hand corner there was half an image of a jogger.

"I can then have the pictures produced into raised drawings."

Mrs McKenzie said she uses a digital camera which is on an automatic setting to ensure the picture is in focus.

Image caption A photograph of Edinburgh-based artist Mary MacIver by Rosita McKenzie

She also sometimes has an assistant to help her on a photo shoot but she always takes the picture.

Other highlights of the festival include the reopening of the City Art Centre after a major refurbishment, an exhibition of work by Stone Roses guitarist John Squire and the opening of the City Observatory

From 17th century Dutch landscapes to new work by international artists, 500 years of painting will feature in this year's event, which will take place in 48 galleries, 11 of which are participating for the first time.

Unveiling the programme, director Joanne Brown, said: "The seventh annual Art Festival showcases the strength and diversity of the visual arts in Edinburgh ensuring a platform during the summer festival period for this vibrant part of the city's cultural life."

Inspired by the legendary jazzman Miles Davis, former Stone Roses guitarist Squire's exhibition of new work, entitled Nefertiti, will come to The Henderson Gallery.

At the City Observatory, on Calton Hill, a specially-commissioned installation by Kim Coleman and Jenny Hogarth will see the public allowed access to the historic building for the first time in a number of years.

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