Karren writes: My entire life I have looked through a lens – thick glasses as a child and contacts lenses from the age of fourteen.
An extremely myopic world in its often two-dimensional form has shaped my way of being, how I focus on my surroundings, which until the age of five I was unable to see with any clarity. For these crucial years of a child’s development, growing up on a farm in South Africa, I was oblivious to the scale of mountains and trees, baboons in the ravines, to anything that wasn’t right under my nose. My innate facility to piece together what I could see in a harsh terrain helped me then, hence my parents were slow to realise that I was sight impaired, and has stood me in good stead ever since.
The day I received my first pair of glasses I saw flowers, birds, a mountaineer on a hike. The utter joy of seeing has lasted my entire life. It is this emerging from a blur and confusion that I believe may have equipped me to photograph children, and in particular children with impairments. It may seem many of these children are in their own worlds, as it felt for me in the first years of my life. I look for the connections that they are making and I try to photograph this essential human desire to be affirmed by others.
My website www.karrenvisser.com shows these photographs. It is my hope that this work may be of interest to recipients of Peter Limbrick’s TAC Interconnections Bulletin, and that I too may have a constructive role in “promoting teamwork around babies, children and young people who are disabled, marginalised or vulnerable”.
Karren Visser, 25 October 2017
Photo ©: Karren Visser
A block of flats in Kenya’s coastal red light district called Mtwapa was home to the boy, his beautiful mother, his aunt, and cousin. He ran in and out of the flat into a secluded courtyard, all the time looking up at the sky. I noticed only women staying in the block. With a great deal of affection they kept an eye on the boy dressed in French soccer kit.