The Region of Tuscany, with its Stamperia Braille in Florence, has agreed to collaborate with the Alinari Foundation in the installation of a specialized exhibition in the Alinari National Museum of Photography to make the works accessible to the visually and physically disabled. The installation involves the creation of relief interpretations of some of the photographs on exhibition in the Museum. This exhibit allows the blind to learn about the principle phases in the history of photography but above all to understand some masterpieces of photography through touch.
This is quite a challenge: of all forms of art, photography is the one most directly connected to the sense of sight, both in production and appreciation and this project attempts to transfer not only the image but the ‘point of view’ of the artist. The tactile photographs would be presented in parallel with the traditional photographs. This way the hope would be that sighted people would also be able to experience these images through touch and better understand the emotions and challenges of the blind. The Stamperia Braille, dating to the beginning of the twentieth century, came to the Region of Tuscany in 1979. It specializes in the production of Braille books with pictures in relief.
Twenty of the photos exhibited in the Museum have been chosen for this special exhibit. They are of particular note in the historical development of photography and were chosen for their different types of images and technologies involved.They have been reproduced in relief by the Stamperia Braille in dimensions and materials that can be “read” by touch and that are in some way faithful to the “point of view”of the photographer.For example there is ‘Stabilimento’ Giacomo Brogi of the faraglioni or stacks ofCapri; a large format photograph showing the texture of rocks hollowed out by the sea. The feelings elicited by theoriginal photograph depend on the contrast between the rigid earth and the calm sea. In the tactile version the rocks have been created from pine bark which transmits the roughness of the surfaces when compared to the smoothness of the sea, made with aluminum materials covered with tissue paper. Different reproduction techniques and materials were used in each of the twenty pictures, keeping in mind the expressive intention of every photograph. Through this exhibit the blind can appreciate an art form from which they are almost always excluded and the sighted can begin to understand their world in a new,profoundly different way.
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