Every now and then I am reminded of how wonderful the gift of sight is. I have enjoyed photography for most of my life and it is hard for me to conceive of life without sight. One of my students was simultaneously taking a photography class from me and another from an art program. The art photography instructor had given an assignment in which the students were to make pictures while blindfolded. When our student in common put her prints up for critique, she was criticized for not have prints that were focused. I simply could not figure out the purpose for that assignment. I have thought about that assignment often and still cannot find an educational justification for it. I did find a book of photographs made by students who were blind. They were all made with cameras with wide-angle lenses, which had plenty of depth-of-field. That book got me to thinking about the creative act itself. How could those blind students appreciate the book they had made because they could not see the images? Doesn't a musician need to hear the music they play? Don't artists and photographers need to see the images they create? Isn't sight and sound critical to the aesthetic experience? Perhaps my thinking is limited because I do have aided sight (glasses) and aided hearing (hearing aids). But Beethoven composed music after he became totally deaf. And Tara Miller is a commercial photographer who is blind. Limitations are not necessarily barriers. Just this week a new camera technology was introduced that may well be in high demand for any photographer and will enable blind people to take up photography without any worry whatsoever about focus. The camera does not focus when the picture is made but is focused afterward via software. The point of focus can be changed at will by clicking on the picture. Thus, end viewers of the photography can potentially focus anywhere within the frame. The photographer doesn't focus at all. I am especially taken by technology that enables us to see clearly what cannot be seen by the unaided eye. Newton invented the telescope to better view the mysteries of the sky. The late MIT professor Harold Edgerton invented electronic flash in order to freeze motion. One of his most famous pictures is that of a drop of milk splashing to form a crown. These effects are made possible by the incredibly short duration of an electronic flash, which is much, much faster than a camera shutter speed. There is a difference between looking and seeing. We look were we are going (unless we are driving a car with a cell phone held to our ears). We see when we are able to study and enjoy the detail of what surrounds us. As a artist you will "see" if you follow the principles elaborated by Betty Edwards in "The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." In taking 30 minutes or more to do a contour drawing of your hand you will really see the detail in your hand. Photographers and artists will often study a scene carefully before raising the camera to the eye or putting a drawing pen to paper. Photographers also look for unusual angles that provide a different view from eye level. Sometimes when you look at the ground you discover things you don't see at eye level. Henry Luce wrote the manifesto of Life Magazine at its founding as a picture magazine in 1936. In part it read: "To see and take pleasure in seeing To see and be amazed To see and be instructed" Take the time to see.