Amblyopia (25), 2015
on reverse: an interview with Megan Paetzhold by Mike Tan (an excerpt can be found below)
27" x 19" (inches) print on poster paper.
Megan Paetzhold (b. 1992) is a photo based artist, writer, and curator whose work focuses on photography’s relationship to perception and memory. Megan lives and works in New York City and completed her BFA in Photography at Parsons the School for Design as well as her BA in Culture & Media at Eugene Lang the College for Liberal Arts in 2016.
RFP Since a large part of your practice is conceptually predicated on your visual impairment, can you tell us about your sensory situation?
MP I was born with a couple different visual conditions, but this work deals with Strabismic Amblyopia, which basically means I can only see out of one eye at a time. Humans have binocular vision, and our brains merge input from the left and right eyes to create our understanding of the world. In order for that to be successful, both eyes have to converge on the one point - and mine don’t. To compensate, my brain “turns off” input from one eye to avoid getting double vision. My eyes have also always been sensitive to light, and I’ve often found light and what it can do to be a more interesting subject than people or objects.
RFP Has this been a lifelong affliction? Do you even see it as an affliction? Can you describe what a typical day with Amblyopia is like?
MP Yes - I was born severely cross eyed, and got my first pair of glasses at four months old. I had eye surgery when I was two to reduce the severity of the condition
It’s difficult to describe something when it’s always been a part of your everyday, but the best comparison I can make is that I see the world more like a camera does — with one “lens” instead of two. The primary difference between the way I see and the way you see is depth. The world looks like photographs to me — everything is much flatter and it’s impossible for me to really differentiate between different planes. My understanding of depth is primarily through motion, rather than stereoscopic vision. I can’t fathom a world with depth — it’s something I’ve never experienced and never will.