I may be a dreamer but I’m not blind.
Back in 2009 I got some really bad news. I was sitting on a chair (one I started to hate by then) at the doctor’s office when she started to tell me I had several injuries in my retina: holes, cysts, something called “snail slime” and detachment of the retina. In both my eyes. My reaction was of incredulity. The typical “this is not possible” mixed with a surreal amazement towards life’s irony.
“I’m a photographer.” “I could get blind.”
These two sentences were just so disparate that I could not think they were applied to the same person and I still start that nervous laugh when I think that person is me.
So back in 2009 I had some really bad news and some bad days although, for other reasons, the period is not remembered as a bad one, fortunately. It also helped me to reconsider many things in my life and my feelings towards everything. I felt I had to start over, everything I was, and as I always say, I deconstructed myself to construct it back. It helped me to understand who I was and what I was going to do with my life. It represented the beginning of a process that lasted about a year, in which I changed the person I was to become the person I am now (and I will be.)
Two weeks ago, January 4th, I was sitting on that very same chair I hate, just for a checkup, looking straight to that light I hate following the doctor’s instructions: “look right, look down, down-right, down-left… look up…” and switched to the other eye almost with the same instructions.
“Is everything ok?”
And while she keeps writing on the keyboard avoiding my look and all my questions, trying to compose a sentence to give me the news, I feel back in 2009 and I feel this “I’ve already lived this and I don’t get used to it.” Then she looked at me and told me one of the injuries in my retina (the one called “snail slime” to which I wonder who put snails in my eyes, they’re driving me crazy!) was a possible future detachment so I need some more lasers (that’s the technique used to fix these injuries… really painful) (and which I had today, I wrote this two days before publishing)
I discovered many people suffer from this. I learnt there’s nothing you can do to provoke it or to prevent it, it’s just the way it is. As well as I’m tall and other people is short, my retina is like this as others’ is… fine (or holes-free.)
Probably nothing will happen in the future but, as stars fade and keep shining for some more years, I became fully aware of light now. So Light (with capital L) became sort of my religion and my ink. I try to write my world with light and tend to catch everything I see and save it in my head and my little magic box that is my camera. I focus on what really matters to me. I try to feel everything I want to feel and I make sure I see everything I want to see. Because, just like you, I’m NOT blind and I CAN SEE EVERYTHING.
Far from looking sad or down, I’m feeling happy. I keep taking photographs (the ones I really want) and I’ll keep taking them! Because this is my job and I’m not planning to quit. Nothing bad happened. Nothing bad will happen. I just opened my eyes! And I still love thinking in the contradiction that this is. A photographer who catches light that is chased by darkness. Just like José Saramago said in his novel Ensaio sobre a cegueira (Blindness, 1995) “We are blind people who can see, but do not see.” Now, I can SEE.
(this picture was taken in the spring of 2009, in that period, when I started to hide myself in my photography and it represents very much the feeling I got by then, the beginning of my new Light)