Gallery

Portraits of a boy who was born without eyes, from one of the 21 “new and emerging photographers” selected this year by Lens Culture.

In her statement about her series “Jon,” Sara Marie Ramsøe writes: “Jon is a multi-handicapped 11-year-old boy. He was born without eyes and has many disabilities. He needs full care 24/7. Jon eats intravenously and is on a lot of medication. He can’t talk or communicate. He doesn’t understand words and he doesn’t have the ability to learn. Also, he can’t walk or use his body. Communication therefore comes from tone of voice and touching. He has a number of different wheelchairs that he uses for different activities. Jon loves listening to fairytales and children songs, and really likes it when his mother sings or telling him stories. The family has a very strong and touching bond. There is so much about this rare little boy; I am going to continue to follow him and his family.”

Ramsøe was selected in 2013 as one of Lens Culture’s “21 new & emerging talents.” She was born in Oslo, where she studies photography at the Bilder Nordic School of Photography.

All images used with permission, © copyright the artist, all rights reserved.

The Morning News:

How did you originally meet Jon and his family?

Sara Marie Ramsøe:

I first met Jon when we had our first workshop at my school. The assignment was to follow a person for one week who has some kind of social difference in our society. Jon is a boy in my neighborhood and I have seen his family outside their house several times. After a lot of courage I finally asked if I could follow him for my documentary. The family was positive about it, and since then I have continued to follow Jon for every documentary workshop during this past school year.

TMN:

How does Jon respond to having his picture taken?

SMR:

Jon is an 11-year old multi-handicapped boy. He is blind and has hearing disabilities. That is just a tiny part of his disability. He doesn’t have the ability to learn or to speak. Also he can’t use his muscles. And the list goes on. Therefore it has been a challenge to create that closeness and get his personality through the lens. My goal has been to understand him as a person and his feelings. It took a while before I could begin to read his very special body languages.

TMN:

What’s your favorite camera at the moment?

SMR:

The camera I use is a Canon EOS 7D. I would also like to experiment with some analog when I get the time.

TMN:

When was the last time you were confused by a piece of art?

SMR:

Art for me is usually not confusing, but some modern art can be really challenging sometimes.

TMN:

What are you working on next?

SMR:

Next I will be working on a music video and some other personal projects. When the fall comes I will make a documentary film about Jon. That will be my second and last year at BNSOP, so I hope that year will form me more as a photographer.

biopic

Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. He is the author of three books, including his latest novel The Last Kid Left (NPR’s Best Books of the Year). His nonfiction appears in a variety of magazines, mostly GQ. More information can be found at rosecransbaldwin.com. More by Rosecrans Baldwin