Tina’s CVI Perspective: “Your eyes see, but your brain doesn’t”

Watch a powerful video by Tina Zhi Xi Caruso about how she sees the world living with CVI.

Tina is currently a student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, majoring in photography. Tina is a disability activist and Asian American and adoptee activist–Tina is an international transracial adoptee from China. She has taken photos at Stop Asian Hate rallies and helped to write an article about the struggle of Asian American transracial adoptees with the LA Times.

Tina is a visually impaired photographer who sees the world differently. She is passionate about spreading awareness about CVI by capturing how she sees the world with a camera. Tina loves to share what she sees with others because CVI is a spectrum.

Tina created this video to accompany the poem she wrote about what it’s like for her to live with CVI.

How I see the world, a poem by Tina Zhu Xi Caruso

Imagine being blind for decades. 

Imagine no one believing you’re blind. 

Imagine you can’t process the world around you. 

Imagine you never will.

You wake up every morning. 

It’s like a movie set. 

Your life is a horror movie. 

And you can’t explain everything. 

Everything is abstracted. 

Nothing makes sense. 

Your eyes see, but your brain doesn’t. 

Your eyes see, but your brain can’t recognize your surroundings. 

You can’t recognize people’s faces. 

You’re alone. 

In your world. 

You feel misunderstood. 

But you reach for your camera. 

You call how you see the world. 

Your camera becomes the eyes. 

You slowly start to see the world around you. 

Every photo you take is novel. 

You get excited and slowly the photos you take open up the world to you. 

You get lost in photography. 

Photography is something you can control. 

The camera is your visual system that you don’t have. 

The camera processor isn’t broken like the connections between the eyes and your brain.

Photography helps you escape the horror movie. 

Photography is your way of showing realism. 

When you draw. 

You get stuck in abstraction, the horror movie. 

That is your life. 

You lose control. 

You shut down you go mute. 

You can’t see you started crying and screaming the world is too much. 

The world is too fast. 

But photography can slow down the world. 

You become relaxed and focus on photography. 

You become one with the camera. 

You have control.

A camera gives you vision.

A dream of how you wish you could see the world.

Memories of what you saw that you will never forget. 

Photography has given you the tool to combat the horror movie. 

It’s the way you connect with the world around you.

Welcome to my world. 

I am the antagonist. 

The movie set is the world that I cannot access with sight.

Window reflection of a woman using a camera

Tina’s art: “How I see the world”

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