A simple question

“When was the last time you did something for the first time? 

When was the first time you did something for the last time? 

Let’s find a million things that we could do the first time, 

you never know, this could be the last time.”  – Belong, Hilary Duff

What do you like to do? The answers are endless.

Do you feel there are complications that come up and get in the way of doing those things? I sure do. You see, I am visually impaired – cone-rod dystrophy to be precise. That’s medical lingo for “legally blind,” or “you probably will never drive,” “you will struggle with math and science,” and “you will keep your phone an inch away from your face to be able to read”. The chances of being born with this impairment are 1/40,000, so don’t sweat it! I am just relieved to understand why I was always surrounded by elders in their late 60’s every time I visited the ophthalmologist as a kid. I always thought my parents did not want me to have the cool eye doctors all of the other kids had, but little did hipster Sharma actually know he had the vision of someone in their late-60’s, because all he cared about was not being different rather than not being blind.

Yes, my life is difficult, but yours probably is, too. Knowing that helps me focus less on my circumstance, and focus more on what I like to do. There are few things I have consistently enjoyed doing as much as I enjoy taking photos. For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed taking photos of my friends, my family, my lunch, my face, or just the world around me – it doesn’t really matter. If I see a moment worth capturing, I’m going to capture it. *disclaimer* by no means do I consider myself to be the best photographer, I know that AND I do not let it stop me. I believe my eyes see the world just a little bit differently than most people, and my iPhone, DSLR, disposable, and polaroid camera help me capture those distinctions.

I started noticing the looks of astonishment on faces when I show people some of the photos I have taken. They all wonder how I capture the world around me when I can barely even see it clearly, but I never thought about that once. Of course, I want my subject to be in focus, I want the lighting to be divine, and I want my image to be crisp – but that is not photography to me. Photography, to me, is making someone feel good, capturing an essence or a vibe, and putting it out into the universe. Look closely around you, there is beauty everywhere. My secret to taking a good, maybe great, photo is knowing you do not need 20/20 vision to capture beauty, for beauty is not seen, but it is felt. You can make people feel good about themselves, you can make yourself feel better about your world, and you can create something positive for your community or for yourself. That’s a superpower in itself.

Borrowing the words from my love, Emma Stone’s, 2017 Golden Globes speech “hope and creativity are two of the most important things in the world.” When I take photos or do anything creative, it is because I love it. Plain and simple: you don’t have to be amazing to love doing something. If you enjoy it, that’s all that should matter. Don’t fear an idea. I have stood on the ledge of rooftops, restaurant chairs, the middle of streets just because I had an idea. I don’t let the thought of appearing silly or getting weird looks stop me from doing what I want to do, because, well, I’m legally blind so I can’t see them! No, actually, because I know I have a dope idea, so who cares what those people think? Don’t get lost in what other’s think or in “finding” yourself, because life is about creating your truest-self.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and my hope for this article is that it leaves you with a thousand questions. One mainly in particular… what do you like to do?

Think About It,

Sahil: The Blind Photographer.

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