I have been using a camera most of my adult life and spent the better part of 30 years doing forensic photography for insurance companies while investigating claims. In 2011, I got got interested in photographing people. I had a serious handicap that I needed to overcome before I could take myself seriously as a professional photographer. I am colorblind. That wasn’t such a big deal when it came photographing a burned out building. But it was quite a problem when it came time to editing skin tones. Since I couldn’t see colors, I had a natural tendency to turn people either green or blue. Either color looked good to me. Unfortunately, the people I began shooting weren’t as impressed. They often asked me, “Did you mean for me to be green?” Or, “I look dead!”
Then one day, something happened. I stopped editing photos based on what I thought “looked” right and started editing based on what “felt” right. It seems that after editing over 20,000 photos, I developed a feel for color ranges. I still didn’t know what colors things were, but I could tell when they were in range based upon how I felt looking at them. My doctor actually had a diagnosis for me. She said that there is a rare disorder where a person lacks a certain sense and they use other senses to compensate for it.
Synesthesia is a fascinating neurological condition that causes an individual (proudly called a synesthete) to experience perceptual information through a sense modality that is unlinked to its source. This is a fancy way of saying that synesthetes may hear colors, smell noises, taste shapes, and even feel flavors. April 5, 2012 Huffington Post
More recently, I developed heart disease and had to undergo open heart surgery to bypass my clogged arteries. When I awoke from surgery in the ICU, I felt so lucky to be alive that I wanted to do something to give back and help raise awareness about heart disease. I decided I would create a photo project where I would photograph others who had also undergone open heart surgery and attempt to put a personal face on heart defects and disease. Check out The Open Hearts Project to learn more.