Brighton Photo Biennial Exhibition Review: Tom Pullen – Because I Cannot See

Alongside the Brighton Photo Fringe and Brighton Photo Biennial Miniclick have put together a programme of exhibitions, talks and events to keep all photography fans busy throughout October.

‘Because I Cannot See’ is the first of two exhibitions hosted by Miniclick throughout the month of the Biennial. Tom Pullen, has created a multi-sensory exhibition that engages people with his photography in a number of ways. Collaborating with product designers and the Cornwall Blind Association, the works include traditional photos alongside 3D tactile versions of the portraits and audio and braille captions.

The exhibition is an interesting exploration of photographic representation, as a viewer at first you are very aware of the fact that the subject of each photograph is unable to see the resulting representation of themselves. The one sided nature of photography has often been called into question when addressing the relationship between photographer and subject and Tom references feeling like photographing those who cannot see the results felt like a closed system. However, by pursuing his work into further fields he has created something that is far from it.

The tactile elements to the exhibit widen the potential audience to those he was working with, challenging the closed system Tom previously felt. The distance between photographer, subject and audience is also broken down by the intrigue of a photography exhibition where visitors are actively encouraged to really engage with the works.

The recordings that accompany each image are what really add a personal insight into the project. There are a mixture of recordings of stories from each subject on their experiences with the Association and examples of the creative activities that they are involved in.

A photograph of a man and his guitar is displayed alongside the 3D model of the image, a small caption in both type and braille, and a recording of playing the guitar at the guitar club set up by the Cornwall Blind Association.

The recordings are testament to how close Tom was with each of the people he worked with. These insights into the world of each person he photographs are personal and moving, transforming this project into a touching story. You get see the fantastic work that the Cornwall Blind Association does and how it effects people’s lives in such a positive way.

Tom’s portraits are brought to life with the positive examples of life beyond the ordinary in a perfectly extraordinary exhibition.


This exhibition is open until Oct 16th (every Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun) at The Miniclick Business Concern at 68MS, Middle Street, Brighton. Free Entry.