How the blind see
20 June 2008
An exhibition of portraits opened this week, showing people with macular degeneration (MD) as they might see themselves.
Adam Hahn's collection, entitled 'Portraits of Macular Degeneration', was compiled after a year's research during which the artist had lengthy discussions with each subject about their personal vision problems. He was also advised by Professor Pete Coffey of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, a leading expert in MD.
Adam Hahn first became interested in MD because his grandmother had it. Though she never discussed her condition, he was able to build up a picture of the experience of MD from talks with other sufferers and visits to the Moorfields Eye Hospital, one of UCL's partner hospitals. The condition affects the centre of the field of vision, often causing sufferers to be unable to read, or to make out fine details or faces.
Currently on a residency at Mascalls School, Adam Hahn is an established portrait painter. He has twice been selected for the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery and was awarded a Royal Academy scholarship to the Prado in Madrid.
Professor Coffey is director of the London Project to Cure Blindness, which conducts research into the use of stem cells to cure age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the UK.
'Portraits of Macular Degeneration' runs until 17 July 2008 at Mascalls Gallery, Mascalls School, Paddock Wood, Kent.
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