A Blind Photographer On The Magic of Light Painting

“The fear I have about blindness is very strong”

Steven Erra was finishing art school when he received a scary diagnosis that he would be legally blind in the next 20 years. Rather than being discouraged by the news that he would lose his sight, Erra used it as a motivator: "You are telling me this bad news, I'm going to make the best art that I can ever make," he recalls in a new video released by Great Big Story.

Erra’s vision has severely deteriorated since that 1979 diagnosis. When he looks toward Manhattan at night he can only see a small area—about half the size of his thumb—and everything else is non-existent. He has never seen a twinkly star in his life. But he hasn’t let his declining sight stop his photography. In the video Erra demonstrates how he continues to create portraits and still lifes through light painting.

“The fear I have about blindness is very strong,” Erra explains. “It is a feeling that my life will not be worthwhile if I can’t see. But as a totally blind person I will still be able to do light painting. It is a comfort to know that my work is strong even though in the future maybe I won’t be able to see it.”

Check out the full video above.

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