Ted Tahquechi has had a love of the visual arts for over thirty years. His obsession with photography started in the late 1980’s with a black and white darkroom course in college. Ted spent years refining his darkroom technique and photographic skills, then made the move to digital in the late 1990’s.
In 1999, when corporate careers were in full swing for Ted and his wife Carrie, an auto accident stole the major portion of Ted’s eyesight, leaving him with 5% low functioning vision in only one eye. With Ted finding himself in need of help visually in most situations, his career in software development working for companies like Atari, Accolade and Mattel Toys was at an end. Living in Santa Cruz, CA, Ted found himself surrounded by the amazing natural beauty of the central coast, and picked up the camera again; this time to capture what he was not able to see at family functions. Though it is difficult for Ted to see the photographs that he is taking, he visualizes the light and shadow in his mind. With a degree in fine art photography, Ted set out to create work that celebrates beauty in all body sizes and ethnicity.
Landscapes of the Body, is a collection of images that grew out of Ted’s years spent studying light, and the way it wraps and shapes the curves of the human form. Creating a set of photographs which does not feature the model’s face originally resolved a visual limitation for Ted, but after the first shoot he fell in love with the abstract, flowing feel of the pictures. All of the images in the collection embrace the use of negative space, and represent the remaining portion of Ted’s vision. “I want people viewing this set of photographs to share how I perceive the world. A significant portion of my visual field is black. I compose the photos based on what I can see and leave the rest as negative space, this is how I see through the camera.” says Ted.
Instrumental in the creation of this project, Ted’s wife Carrie also holds a degree in art, specializing in photography, and the two have worked together for years to bring this project to life. Carrie, like Ted understands the importance accessibility plays in life, and Carrie creates the dialog for the audio descriptions of the images, and works closely with Ted on the tactile prints.
Throughout the creation of this project, a single strobe, highly focused or bare bulb, a black background and cards to block portions of the light were all that were used. Photoshop is utilized minimally to convert the images from color to black and white, and little to no retouching of the model’s skin is performed. The intent is to let the viewer appreciate the natural beauty of the body through abstract form and shape. It was important to Ted for this collection of photographs to represent a wide variety of models. The work spans male and female models, professional and amateur. Ages range from 19 to 76 with a variety of ethnicity and body sizes included. This is a body-positive project with female models ranging in dress size from 0 to 24.
Though these are nude images, they are not explicit, making this project appropriate for all viewers.