"Lose Yourself" Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be. - Duane Michals -

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what about a person who cannot see?

What happens when someone decides to make photographs outside the influence of visual culture?

“Lose yourself” features a photographic case study, displaying the co-operation, between me and Christos Tsiouris (Chris), a blind young athlete, for a week. It illustrates how, what is thought of primarily as a visual medium, is used by a person with visual impairment, and by me in a manner of documentation. While the concept of a blind photographer may seem paradoxical or unrealistic, the medium provides a unique creative opportunity for Chris.

Just because somebody’s holding a white cane doesn’t mean they can’t take a photograph.

Christos Tsiouris lost his sight gradually over the years from retinitis pigmentosa. Legally blind, he retains some limited, highly attenuated light, which sometimes helps him distinguish figures and letters. This is the reason that the photographs he shot intentionally converted in black n’ white, because sometimes this is a way that he can feel better the difference in tonality and contrast.

Before losing his vision entirely, he studied Educational Studies at the University of Ioannina, where he now prepares his thesis for the post-graduate programme. Chris used to play football in a local team for several years. Last two years due to the fact that he didn’t want to stop practicing sports, he took time to get some good Judo training and he also became a long-jump athlete.

When I approached Chris through his sister (they live together), he was experiencing a difficult emotional period in his life. I handed him a digital compact camera and told him “to start shooting” for a week. The –recently turned- 25 years old young man immediately began documenting his path through the city streets, his house, himself. At the same time, I was documenting photographically his everyday life through my perspective.

Chris uses an application in his phone which helps him read texts and messages.

Although I am not blind, I know the Braille system just like Chris does, so I asked him to record the memories, impressions, emotions when he was photographing. All these were “translated” in Braille language and accompanied some of his photographs.

This combination is important because it requires an intimate relationship with people who can see, in order to complete the cycle that starts with a mechanical record and ends with mental reconstruction. Each photograph is a double blindness because Chris needs a sighted person to describe the photograph, but the sighted person relies on Chris to read the Braille.

(What to eat for breakfast? If I do not drink nettle, cinnamon, honey and lemon, I cannot open my eyes!)
(Tomorrow I have to go to pay the bills, then for coffee with Olga, later training and finally rehearsal in the theater.)
Each photograph is a double blindness because Chris needs a sighted person to describe the photograph, but the sighted person relies on Chris to read the Braille.
(Sports create bonds. So together we can go further)
(Things aside. Let's run for 5km and then do some cross-training)
(It's nice when friends and relatives visit you in your new home, even if they smoke)
(So this is family. To be able to rest even for a walk)
(The students returned back again. It's a nice evening to go for a stroll and see our little world)
(He brought me home and he goes out again for new adventures. His blood is boiling)

The power of his photographs is not Metaphysics, but vision and I am the witness of a pure kind of creation.

We all, users of cameras on mobiles, professional photographers or not, are blind from too much seeing.

It is, in fact, a progressive blindness

My purpose through Chris story is to pose a question. “Are we sighted or blind?”.

British photographer Terence Donovan declares: “The real skill of photography is organized visual lying. Photographers internalize a lengthy set of conventions: traditional subjects, suitable angles, appropriate lenses, depth of field choices, proper color balance, correct compositional techniques (and vague countermoves), geometric balances, effective crops, decisive moments. The list is -click by click- a successive ratcheting down a narrowing of vision. It is, in fact, a progressive blindness”.

Chris is here to support this statement.

And I am here to raise this up. We are all equal among equals and thus we should be treated. Exclusion is not a choice anymore.

Sight is so powerful that we are unaware of our blindness – says Douglas Mc Culloh – We see and that is so strong that we think we understand.


"Lose yourself" is a follow up activity of the ERASMUS+ training course for youth workers Facing the Street. Project Facing the Street was co-funded by Erasmus + Programme of the European Union.

The European Commission support for the production does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi¬ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Credits :

Text and photographs: Konstantinos Chatzis

Collaborator: Christos Tsiouris

Created By
Konstantinos Chatzis

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.