An Artists’ Reception was held at the Toms River Branch on October 29 for Special Eyes on the Environment (S.E.E.), an exhibit of photographs taken by adults with physical, emotional and multiple disabilities. It was a powerful and emotional event for all who attended.
Throughout the summer, S.E.E. participants toured locations throughout Ocean County capturing photographs that point out the beauty and blemishes of the environment. Empowered by their camera, they discovered they could make a statement about their world, influence the opinions of society on how they regard the environment, and convey a deeply personal message.
“Many people with disabilities find the notion of photography is out of their reach,” said Venus Majeski, New Jersey Institute for Disabilities‘ Director of Development and Community Relations. “Hands are not steady enough, focusing on a subject while navigating in a wheelchair is nearly impossible and most times they feel the results are just not worth the effort.”
Ross Lewis, a former international photographer for Fortune 500 corporations, national magazines and the National Football League recognized the need and started S.E.E., opening a new world of experience for persons with disabilities. Mr. Lewis began the S.E.E. program in 1993and it has grown to become one of the leading educational programs in New Jersey for special education schools and organizations. S.E.E. and the students have become vital part of the environmental and cultural fabric for promoting respect and care for our everyday world.”
The S. E. E. project is funded in part by the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission, The Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation and the Gannett Foundation.