"There is more to photography than a photograph" a message that resonated Wednesday, the 2nd 2015 at the Olympus Corporate Headquarters, USA. When photographing camera in hand we are experiencing more than just beautiful imagery. We experience a story and moment of our lives; there are tastes, sights, feelings, smells, and touch involved in our experience and that has to be captured along with brilliant imagery. Inspired by the observations of an Olympus staff member, Stephen went through the process of how he developed and created the first every printed photograph for the visually impaired. Throughout the speech Stephen recognized the limitations of photographer and set out to create an equal opportunity for all to experience photographs beyond the scope of the current artistic standards. Stephen began this process early this year in 2015 by creating a multiple layering effect of printing which takes hours to create his images. He explains " it takes hours of time and patience in the process, just like it takes patience, time, and dedication, when photographing landscapes and wildlife".
Stephen explains that his prints are all hand made and printed by him on a variety of materials all in which are recycled to support his mission to conserve and protect our natural world. Printing in such a way gave him the opportunity to push the limits of normal photographic printing. "I print on just about anything, from recycled aluminum sheets, glass, rocks, wood; anything I can use to re-purpose and give life to items that typically would have been wasted". This capability led Stephen the opportunity to print and use his understanding of printing his images to create depth within his imagery. There is more to this than just seeing the image, you can feel it and you are able to experience these prints in a way that has yet to be duplicated. At the summary of the discussion Stephen was meet with great appreciation, amazement and praise for his work as the Olympus staffers and members of their Photography club felt and discussed his printing. "It was a great moment, to have individuals who dedicate their lives to imaging experience these prints and get animated at what I have created" These interactions are what motivates Stephen to push forward; for all to experience photography through touch.
While Stephen continues to explore the capabilities of his photography and printing methods for the visually impaired he continues to strive to make his pieces interactive for all. While speaking to the group Stephen notes that he is currently exploring technologies and funding to add auditory elements to the pieces for individuals with visual impairments to obtain instructions as to how to interact with the piece and "see" what they are feeling. By January Stephen has determined he should be able to solidify this aspect just in time for his Solo show at the Banko Gallery in the Banana Factory in Bethlehem PA. If you would like to see and feel his work it will be on display throughout the month of January and if you would like to meet Stephen an Open House will be held on the scheduled first friday of January.