A legally blind photographer from Winnipeg is a finalist in the CNIB Eye Remember national photography competition.
Tara Miller, a commercial photographer who works with her husband in 100 Acre Woods Photography, has less than 10 per cent vision, yet her shot made it to the top five. The public is voting for the winner at http://www.eyeremember.ca/gallery.aspx until June 30.
Miller’s shot of a lightning storm over a field of sunflowers at sunset, called Fortuitous Twilight, also won best in show and best colour print at the 2011 Red River Exhibition Photography Salon.
A press release from the CNIB Eye Remember organizers says she is believed to be the only visually impaired photographer to make the short list.
"I have finally started to be taken seriously for my ability and not my disability," Miller said.
"I had trouble coping with more vision loss over the past 20 years and finally found my ‘inner peace’ with myself when I took up photography again... I want to let others know not to give up what you are passionate about."
Miller contracted congenital rubella syndrome in utero. That can effect the fetus’s eyes, heart or brain.
"I look at it this way," says Miller. "I had the least devastating one."
It would seem impossible for a blind person to shoot a photograph. But Miller explains that she makes up for her lack of vision with her other senses. When she shoots wildlife, she uses her exceptional hearing to work out where the birds or animals are. When she’s shooting outdoors, she relies on brightness and shadow to frame a photograph and relies on memory for what things look like.
She sees only one small spot clearly with her left eye, and that is helpful with close-up shots.
She also relies on family to help her "see" things. Her 12-year-old son helped her shoot the winning image.
"I have learned to anticipate. Hopefully, when I come home and look at my images as any other photographer does, we all hope we have captured the moment."
More of Tara’s work can be seen at http://www.100acrewoodsphotography.com/Tear_Sheet_TY4Q.php.