152MC – Touch by Peter Dekens

Peter Dekens body of work Touch was something that Matt suggested to look at while pitching my three ideas. He told me his work is a story of a blind person. This interested me instantly as I thought’How can you tell a story of a blind person?’ Which then lead to me investigating his work further.

Peter Dekens is a Belgium documentary photographer, with a strong interest in social issues. His latest book Touch is a story of a young man Stijn who was born blind. Dekens spent time with Stijn in his apartment, discovering and documenting his world. The apartment is the only place where Stijn can move so freely. Everything – table, bed, walls, sofa – helps him to navigate around and constitutes his territory. “He knows this space inside out. It may be small and limited, but Stijn is not. In fact it’s quite the opposite”. While light/dark doesn’t make difference to him, it is tactile sensation – touch – that guides Stijn’s world.

Having a look through the photo-book digitally, I think it’s an interesting way to show Stijn’s world to others. It is designed in a form of accordion which also helps to tell the story. Powerful work, excellent picture editing, interesting design and gorgeous book.

Having a look through this it gave me the inspiration of making my parents part of my photography. This has lead me thinking about another idea. As both of my parents are deaf and have been since birth, they also have a different world. This can be an interesting way to document someone with a disability. I will look into more research on photographers that uses people with a disability as their subject, and see where this takes me.

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