“It surprised me that the human mind can do whatever it wants if we work toward it,” – Sonia Soberats
Sonia Soberats gets so captivated in her work to a point she sometimes forgets she can’t see. Ms. Soberats, lost her eyesight battling glaucoma. First the right eye went dark, then about six months later, the left. Ms. Soberats lost her two kids in the 90’s her daughter to ovarian cancer and her son to Hodgkin’s disease, shortly after Ms. Soberats lost her vision.
“That biblical story about the seven good years and the seven bad years? That happened to me,” Ms. Soberats, 77, said in an interview at her home in Jackson Heights. “I think their sickness helped me cope with my blindness. Because I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking about them. How much they were suffering, how much they were going through.”
Ms. Soberats finds peace through her photographs, most of her subjects are friends and family she captures events that affects like the most such as death, marriages, and pregnancies. Her work is often categorized as joyous and haunting in the same sentence.
In 2001, Ms. Soberats began taking photography classes in Manhattan, joining a long line of individuals with disabilities — including other blind people. Ms. Soberats had never been a photographer before losing her sight.
Her images may be conceived during a walk through Union Square or at a party with friends, when the scent of flowers or the sound of Mexican men singing boleros provoke a flurried catalog of imagery, waiting to be captured.
“I feel your face, your hair, then I’ll ask you: ‘Are you light-colored? Or dark? Is your hair blonde or brown or black?’ ” she said. “So with asking and touching, then I’ll get an idea of what I have to work with.”
“The more difficult the photo, the more interesting and the more rewarding when you complete it and it’s good,” she said. “To be able to realize and obtain something that at the end everybody praises, it’s very satisfactory.”
Find more of her work here http://www.seeingwithphotography.com/swpc_home.html and be sure to check the documentary titledEl Laberinto de lo Posible
Credit: NY Times JULIE TURKEWITZ
Sonia Soberats/Seeing With Photography Collective