(Images courtesy of WTBBL)
The widely acclaimed Washington Talking Book & Braille Library is known for providing audiobooks and other services to thousands of patrons across the state who can’t read standard-print material. Now, until early December, it’s hosting a great new photo exhibit that focuses on the people who benefit from the library’s services and programs.
The exhibit, called “Innocent Eyes,” is produced by Stephanie Jarstad, a Seattle-based professional photographer. The 32-photo exhibit features stunning portraits of eight blind people, as well as three photos taken by each. A free reception for the exhibit’s opening is planned for Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. at WTBBL. A Q&A forum takes place at 7:30 p.m.
WTBBL is located at the corner of 9th Avenue and Lenora Street (2021 9th Ave.) in downtown Seattle — a repurposed architectural gem, and once home for an auto dealership/showroom.
Jarstad said the photo exhibit, which ends Dec. 1, allows its eight subjects to capture images that they want the rest of us to see and consider.
“Through this body of work, I photographed and interviewed members of the blind community,” Jarstad said. “Some have lived without sight since the day they were born; others have lost sight later in life. A few have degenerative sight. I gave each person a disposable camera, as a tool to capture what they find uniquely significant. These images are displayed alongside the portraits I created of them. The camera becomes their eyes for us to see into their world.”
Jarstad said some of the photographers had a sighted partner help them aim the camera at what they wanted to shoot. Others just went out of their senses, she explained.
“This project is concerned with the inner significance of beauty, not simply the exterior. These eight individuals teach great lessons of how to appreciate the parts of this world we no longer seem to notice. As master painter Edgar Degas states, ‘Art is not what you see, but what you make others see,’” Jarstad added.
WTBBL Program Manager Danielle Miller said her library staff looks forward to hosting the exhibit.
“WTBBL is all about community,” Miller said. “Being able to bring in an exhibit that highlights people who are blind and the work that they do is wonderful and expands what we can offer to our patrons.”