Blind photographer reveals how she takes her stunning photos

Rachael Andrews, from Norwich, took up photography as a hobby after losing most of her sight in her 20s

Rachael Andrews, from Norwich, took up photography as a hobby after losing most of her sight in her 20s - Credit: Soft of Sight Photography (Rachael Andrews)

A photographer from Norwich who lost her sight in her 20s has been proving her disability is not a limit to her creativity.

Rachael Andrews began using photography as a tool to keep an eye on her pet rats after losing her sight.

But soon taking pictures moved from practicality to creativity and a new hobby was born.

Mrs Andrews mid-shoot alongside her guide dog Ajay

Mrs Andrews mid-shoot alongside her guide dog Ajay - Credit: Stuart Beard

“At the age of 21 I became blind in one eye," said Mrs Andrews.

"Everything was OK for a couple of years as I had my remaining eye but then I began to lose vision in that one as well.

"That meant I lost my job as a bingo cashier and later had to stop working as a DJ.

“A year later I was given a digital camera which I used as a tool to keep an eye on my rats and to also look at things like food labels.

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"But after three or four years I found I liked it was an artistic thing even though I had no remote interest in photography before."

When on photo shoots, Mrs Andrews is accompanied by her guide dog Ajay

When on photo shoots, Mrs Andrews is accompanied by her guide dog Ajay - Credit: Soft of Sight Photography (Rachael Andrews)

The 49-year-old has myopic macular degeneration which caused her sight to deteriorate - leaving her with only limited peripheral vision. 

To create her photos the Thorpe St Andrew creative uses a technique called focus peaking where a bright light flashes that tells Mrs Andrews the subject is in focus. 

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Mrs Andrews specialises in macro and abstract photography but has also branched out into landscape photography recently - Credit: Soft of Sight Photography (Rachael Andrews)

"I can't see the subject when I'm taking the photo other than a smear of colour.

"I'll take about 50 shots at a time then blow them up on my computer and I have to move my eyes around the screen to get a sense of the bigger picture, which I never get to see."

Mrs Andrews, who shares her work under the name Soft of Sight Photography, was the driving force for the creation of a photography group for visually-impaired people.

The organisation has since been helped others explore the hobby for over a decade.

She added: "I hope my photography inspires people and makes others realise that life is not over when you have a visual impairment and that people who have lost their sight can still be creative."