Nightwatching

Sylwia Kowalczyk a

Sylwia Kowalczyk, Nightwatching, 2011-13

Nightwatching is a striking series of portraits by Sylwia Kowalczyk but it has a special meaning for the artist herself. In 2006 she suffered a detached retina and was at risk of losing her eyesight completely. An operation saved her, but she was left with the primal fear of blindness, an acute dread for a visual artist.

Kowalczyk is Polish but resides in Edinburgh with her husband, the photographer Simon Crofts. Together, they plough the fields of paying photography; their combined work can be seen on the blog croandkow.com. She is also a commercial illustrator, with a style very different from her photographic work: see it at the illustrious illustrator.

Blindness is a compelling subject for photographers, so reliant are they on the act of seeing. Photographer Natalie Gilbert has written an academic paper on blind photography, See As No Other. And Petapixel has no less than eight stories about blind and colourblind photographers.

The 1991 movie Proof starred Hugo Weaving as a blind photographer who needs Russell Crowe to describe the contents of his photographs to him.

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