Eckert went to school for sculpture and was ready to continue artistic design with a degree in architecture when he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye condition that eventually causes permanent blindness. Although stricken with years of emotional distress over his new disability, he soon began heavily investing himself into photography.
Photography? Isn’t photography about first seeing beautiful things, and then capturing them? To Eckert, it still is. He may be blind, but his creativity is still intact. The backdrop of his photography is the darkness that he is forever surrounded by. He then uses light painting to share what he does see: the occasional crackles of light that spiral, spark and arc around him. He has always loved creating and making things, and he continues to do so by funneling his new circumstance into portraits of his new world.
After deciding on a concept, Eckert determines his stage by using the auditory and tactile clues that the sighted often ignore. He then sets his camera for long exposures to builds images; in darkness he paints shapes with a small light source. He even develops his photos the old fashioned way – in a darkroom from the negatives.
He can’t see his final products, but that doesn’t worry him. He highlights images of what he himself experienced: with light, in darkness, by designing and tracing each element himself. The process of creation is what he savors, leaving the beautiful ghosts of his creations as photo reminders for the sighted world.
All photos copyright of Pete Eckert