When Brendon Borellini first got into photography, it started as a joke. After all, how could someone who is both blind and deaf get into such a visual art? But what started as a joke quickly became a way for Borellini to use his remaining senses to tackle a challenge–and tackle it he did. Until recently, though, he had no way to determine what he’d actually captured.
Borellini was born deaf and partially blind. When he was older, his blindness progressed, leaving him in the dark completely. Not one to let his disabilitiy stop him, Borellini has quite a few accomplishments under his belt. He was honored as the 1989 Australian of the Year for his academic success–just before he decided to head off to college to study photography.
Borellini has been using senses like touch and scent to guide his composition. The texture of rocks on the shore, the mist from crashing waves–that’s how he determined what to shoot. But in over two decades of photography, he was unable to actually review his own work and find ways to improve. He began using feedback to guide him, using a tool that translates words into braile, but still had no way to experience his own images.
With 3D printing, Borellini has managed to scale even that obstacle. Printing his images on a 3D printer, he’s now able to “see” what he’s actually captured. The printer recognizes the texture in the image and creates a topographical object, so Borellini can feel what is in the composition. “I can recognize the elements of the image. I think it’s very impressive to be able to feel the images I am taking,” he told 3dprint.com.
To see both Borellini and the 3D printer in action, check out this short video: