4

Blind Photographer Ted Tahquechi Shoots Bodies Like Landscapes

Ted Tahquechi will exhibit his photographs at Access Gallery between February 17 and March 17.EXPAND
Ted Tahquechi will exhibit his photographs at Access Gallery between February 17 and March 17.
Ted Tahquechi
^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Photographer Ted Tahquechi lost most of his vision in a car accident in 1999. Up until the crash, he'd been shooting photos — a skill he picked up in college in the 1980s. After the crash, he says, "I didn't pick up the camera. I didn't do anything at all. I was feeling sorry for myself and feeling disappointed with where I was in my life."

It wasn't until he started using a camera as a second eye — to see pretty much anything that wasn't more than a few inches in front of his face — that he realized he could start shooting photographs again.

Ted Tahquechi lost his sight, but not his skill as a photographer.EXPAND
Ted Tahquechi lost his sight, but not his skill as a photographer.
Ted Tahquechi

Tahquechi went back to college to pursue a second degree in fine-art photography, with his wife's assistance. In a class, a teacher told him they would be practicing portraiture. He panicked.

"That was the worst thing that could happen," he says. "I can't see the actual look on their face when I'm shooting people."

Blind Photographer Ted Tahquechi Shoots Bodies Like LandscapesEXPAND
Ted Tahquechi

He asked his teacher if he could take on an alternative assignment and shoot portraits as closeups. The teacher agreed to let him try abstract portraiture.

He started a series of photos of close-ups of hands: some praying, others working. “It wasn't until I started shooting pieces and parts of the body in a more abstract way that I got excited about where I was going," says Tahquechi.

Blind Photographer Ted Tahquechi Shoots Bodies Like Landscapes (2)EXPAND
Ted Tahquechi

These days, he works in a low-key, dark environment, shooting nudes with his wife, who operates the lights and makes sure his models are comfortable.

"She and I have hidden signals that if a model is looking uncomfortable, she gives me signals to let me know," Tahquechi says. "Thank goodness I've got my wife. She knows what I'm looking for."

His models tend to be patient with his slow process, as he carefully scans each image on a laptop, ensuring that every pixel, which he magnifies, is where it belongs.

He is passionate about working with all races, sizes and genders of models. Shooting in black and white gives the series an aesthetic cohesion, he says: "Once you remove all of the color from whatever ethnicity you're shooting, it feels like a cohesive body of work."

Blind Photographer Ted Tahquechi Shoots Bodies Like Landscapes (5)EXPAND
Ted Tahquechi

"Different skin types interact with light differently," he says. "This is all about the shadow and the highlight and the transition from the dark to the light."

Bodies have their own geography, says Tahquechi: "When you look at somebody's belly and two legs, it feels like a landscape or a mountain range."

Blind Photographer Ted Tahquechi Shoots Bodies Like Landscapes (4)EXPAND
Ted Tahquechi

Tahquechi will show his work as part of Bodies of Work, an exhibit that opens Friday, February 17, with a reception at 5 p.m. at Access Gallery, 909 Santa Fe Drive. The show runs through March 17.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.