The Act of Enquiry
Simon Burrows is a photographer who experiences enhanced night vision caused by colour-blindness. Simon’s project “The Act of Enquiry” is an investigation into the relationship between the complexities of vision and how individuals perceive their surroundings through a photographic practice-based project.
Simon is influenced by his personal experiences and imitates his night vision within his photographic work. His project is a documentation of his night walks which leads to an investigation of light reflected on certain objects.
During his research Simon has built a relationship with the inhabitants of the island of Pingelap which is better known as colour-blind island.This is to examine the evidence of enhanced night vision within colour-blind individuals. The inhabitants of Pingelap weave intricate patterns in rugs within a darkened room, using subtle differences of thread; to an individual with normal colour vision the rugs look like plain rugs. However, a colour-blind individual can discover the patterns hidden aesthetic beauty when viewed in the dark.
The story of Pingelap has sparked scientific investigation by the likes of Oliver Sacks.
Simon has woven this into this research to add context to this photographic work. Making a commentary to the writings by Dr. August Lummer. 1914.
“A speck of paper so tiny as to be unperceived in the dark by the normal* eye, will be readily perceived and correctly located by the colour-blind eye, which is able to focus in the dark, a feat which the normal eye can never accomplish” Dr. August Lummer 1914
“The Act of Enquiry” for Simon is a process of discovery within his practice. Whereby when seeing a subject that has a luminescence, Simon will investigate its identity and then document the findings. Simon asks his audience to investigate his photographic work as a process of discovery; to decipher what the subject is. Therefore, mimicking Simon’s photographic process of discovery.