by Tammy Ruggles
The more I practice photography, the more I come to realize that, in a way, it’s my way of holding on to a visual world that is slipping through my fingertips like grains of sand.
I have a progressive retinal disease known as Retinitis Pigmentosa, or RP, and this has slowly taken my vision over the years. I’m legally blind now, and do have some vision, but it’s very blurry. Oddly enough, the world to me is as blurry as the world would look to you if you turned the lens of a camera so far out of focus that you couldn’t recognize people from trees, the color of eyes, the shapes of mouths, the color of hair.
Yet, I was born with a desire to create, and I find ways to keep doing the things I love. For photography, it’s with a simple point-and-shoot camera set on auto, a 47-inch computer monitor to view my captures, and sometimes the assistance of a friend. I love black and white because I see more clearly in high contrast. One might say that my visual impairment has contributed to my style of photography, which is black and white.
At first I was afraid to attempt a profession in photography in 2013, but I gathered the courage to put my images out there, and it has worked. It took some soul-searching and logic: Pictures don’t have to be perfect to be interesting.
I take photos, not just for myself, but for others to enjoy. This is where I differ from some artists, who create solely for themselves. I create for others too. I do care about what they think or feel when they view a photograph of mine. Interpretation is important.