Photography through the eyes of blind & visually impaired children-Jonathan May
Who is Jonathan May, where are you based and what do you do?
I am originally from Sydney Australia, but now living in Europe with my wife and have representation in Paris, Moscow and Sydney. Traditionally a concept based advertising photographer but I have a real passion for reportage photography, which I love as I get to discover new places and meet new people and then share my experiences. Photography has always been a dream for me, and one day I decided to follow my passion and have never looked back. A lot of photographers sit back waiting for work, but I think that it is important when you are not busy commercially to occupy your time with your personal work. Often it is your personal work that gets you commissioned jobs. Outside of photography I love surfing and Brazilian Juijitsu
We recently came across your Thika Primary School work. How did that project come about?
The project came about when I was sitting at an airport in mombassa, and noticed on the small television that there was a featured on some blind and visually impaired children playing football. I knew right then and there, that I had to meet them. To try to get them more exposure and help
Lina with her 60% vision
What is the aim of this project and will we see more versions of this project?
This project aims to bring awareness to the daily struggles that some children endure, by trying to give you their respective visual impairment. With each photo the viewer ‘sees’, it is ironically as though they become the child in the photo, less able to clearly ‘see’ what lies in front of them. In this way, the series itself becomes a metaphor for deterioration.
Tell us about the student, Teresa, who really touched your heart ?
While the deputy principle was gathering some children to photograph, I noticed this young girl (Teresa) who was blindly fumbling her way from one side of the school yard to the other. I asked the deputy if Teresa could join us and I was told it wasn’t possible. Her family couldn’t afford the school fees and her mother was currently being told by the principle to take her home today. The deputy went on and said that without continued education at her age, Teresa would get left behind and struggle to integrate and engage with society.
I thought back to my own childhood and how at Teresa’s age I didn’t have a care in the world. I couldn’t let Teresa go home on that day so I paid for her tuition for the rest of the year. It wasn’t a lot of money and that small gesture will give young Teresa some hope to live a more normal independent life. I now have myself an unexpected sponsor child and will continue to pay for her education.
I am about to return to Kenya and looking forward to seeing her again.
James with his 50% vision
What are you currently working on now?
I working on a project to help an orphange in Russia
What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
The best advice to to really believe in yourself. In your early stages it is good to show your images to someone who is more experienced to critic it, so you start to get an understanding for what works and what doesn’t. Really work hard on building your personal portfolio and then use that to get you commissioned jobs.
Where can readers find more of your work?