Susan has had a lifelong interest in and about "colorblindness," growing up with a colorblind father and raising a colorblind son. Color is very difficult to talk about, even among people with "normal" vision. The experience of color is so individual.
In the summer of 2015, Susan began to use what she knew about color in photography to try to produce images that would look very different to her, but might appear the same to her son. She knew in theory what she was doing should work, but was very surprised when, in fact, it did. Working with her son as "fact checker," she produced a series of diptychs in which the two images appear quite different to her but the same to her son. After years of wondering about many things, she learned to see the world through her son's eye, using photography.
There are different types and many degrees of color deficiency, otherwise known as "colorblindness." Susan's son has protanopia, or a severe form of red deficiency. These images will appear very similar to other people with the same deficiency, but very different to people with other deficiencies.
This is the first in a planned series dealing with different types and degrees of color deficiencies.
The book is a photo book printed on photo paper, with a soft cover. It is currently available at Amazon.
Many years ago, in a bicycle race through Jemez Springs to Los Alamos, NM, one of my teammates, Joe Green, broke away, and had a pretty good gap on the peloton. A few of us were up front blocking for Joe, when all off a sudden Rich, another one of our teammates, came flying around us from off-the-back with riders from other teams on his wheel, and they started chasing down Joe Green. We yelled for him to stop chasing, but Rich had blasted by so fast he couldn't hear us, so he pulled the whole peloton up to Joe Green. We were racing for Nunzio's Pizza at that time and we wore red, white and green striped team jerseys. At the end of the race, Joe Green came up to me and asked "What's the deal with Rich? Is he colorblind or what?" Rich is colorblind with a red and green deficiency, and he told me many times that the Nunzio's jersey looked pretty much the same as any other jersey to him.
If you have ever wondered how the 1% to 2% of the population who are "colorblind" see color, "Seeing Color Colorblind: Protanopia Part I" is an excellent introduction for people who see in color to see how "colorblind" people see the world (use a Kindle Fire or open it in Amazon's Cloud Reader to see the book in color).
Susan's father was colorblind and her son is colorblind, also, but she said she never really understood the impact that color blindness had on them until recently. Through her photography and the many tools available for digital image processing, she has created a series of diptychs, with a normal color photo and the same photo processed to the colors that a person with protanopia (severe red deficiency) sees set side by side. Her son has helped her with the images so when he looks at the pair they look the same to him (if you look at the photos on a regular or paper white Kindle, both photos look the same).
It's really amazing what Susan has accomplished by putting this book together and showing us what people with protanopia see when they look at color photographs. I had the common misconception that people with severe colorblindness see the world in more of a black and white or gray scale, when it turns out that they see color in black and white because they are not seeing the colors of the spectrum blended together that make black and white as I see it. "Seeing Color Colorblind: Protanopia Part I" is a fascinating view into another world, and is uniquely Susan because it is 100% art on the one hand, and 100% science on the other blended together into a single source. Which makes it a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, spouses, partners and healthcare professionals to help them understand how their loved ones, pupils and patients with colorblindness see the world.
Susan always wondered how her father and son could watch a football game on their black and white TV and talk about the "blue team" and the "yellow team". She thought it was a joke, until she finally realized they were seeing the teams in blue and yellow. Susan writes:
"On March 15, 2015 I saw the first in a series of videos made by EnChroma, a company that makes glasses that help many people with color deficiencies see a broader range of colors. I must have watched the video at least twenty times that day, and cried throughout. I thought of the times my son had said, "I wish just once, even if just for a minute, I could see the world the way other people do. 'Finally, here was a chance, I thought.' My mother saw the video, and immediately ordered some of the EnChroma glasses for her grandson."
It turned out that the glasses didn't really do a lot for her son, but they helped a little. Since the technology is not to the point that it can help her son see color more like the most people, she started to wonder if there was a way that she "could see the would through his eyes." And the answer was "yes" and the result is "Seeing Color Colorblind: Protanopia Part I."
Susan's work in photographic series, currently "Persephone's Choice: Every Woman's Dilemma," lends itself to book form for discussion of the broad context of the images in mythology and myths; being female; and defining one's self apart from Society's and societies' definition. Long interested as an anthropologist in the human division of labor by sex, Susan has published peer reviewed articles on that subject going back to the 1978. The interest was reinforced by her work as Board Certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist for much of her adult life. The photographic series and the book bring together a lifetime of work, knowledge, and thought.
"Persephone's Choice: Every Woman's Dilemma" is now available from Amazon as a Kindle book.
1. Persephone's Mythic Journey: The Welcoming Fusion of Light of Knowledge and Beauty
Persephone’s Choice: Every Woman’s Dilemma contains texts and images of Dr. Susan Graham’s unique creative mythic journey into the open-ended realm of Persephone’s annual return to the Underworld (Winter) cycle and return to life and the Upper world’s (Spring) of new creation. Susan Graham has played many social roles as a practicing surgical medical doctor and academic social anthropologist and accomplished nature photographer based in beloved and enchanting New Mexico. Bringing together her many skills she has made a fascinating, imaginative simulation of the Goddess Persephone’s annual cycle and given us revealing background on this primitive story of the annual round of earth’s deep engagement with our murky inventive unconscious as the tilted planet we inhabit rocks back and forth with the deeply felt seasonal fading of the light into fall and with the death of vegetation and the slow recovery after the solstice toward spring and the rebirth of the vegetative world and the burst of birth renewal of life around us in summer. The revealing textual and photographic storytelling focus in her journey on the female perspective of this ancient storytelling tradition and demonstrate the intricate the key generative role of the female of our species participating in this revolving cycle in major religions worldwide while at the same time Graham weaves personal stories of her own interpretative storytelling journey through a busy professional life as anthropologist, obstetrician and gynecologist and prize winning photographer, as well as caring mother. Woven around the photographic narration of her journey captured in the final body of the work comes a beautiful series of sequential narrative scenes of Persephone’s experiences modeled by the striking classical beauty of Kelly Angerosa in her debut as professional model in the role of Persephone, as she ponders the dilemma of every woman’s choices in the dialectic of sexual pomegranate and (Eve’s) power conscious apple, and their see-saw of life’s bipolar role choices, in the counterpoint of sexuality and knowledge power, concluding with the modern Persephone’s realization of the joy of embracing both mind and body as a path to full personal fulfillment. This reader and viewer gets the impression from this ingeniously composed insightful mythic study that the multi-talented Dr. Susan Graham’s future artistic works portend surprising multilayered philosophical and aesthetic discoveries composed with empathetic ink and light. Five Stars.
2. Thought Provoking and Beautiful
A fascinating modern reworking, in photo-essay form, of the Greek Persephone myth, as a metaphor for the central feminine dilemma. It begins with a thought-provoking discussion of myth, structuralism and binary oppositions as they relate to state of women throughout history and in the 21st century. The photo essay itself is a feast for the eyes, using a modern day reincarnation of Persephone. Can't recommend highly enough!