Pete Eckert

I used the mini grants I received to produce and show my photography. Essentially I used the grants as a lever to go after prize money and opportunities. The more prizes I won the more attention I received and the more opportunities came my way. I started a small group called the Blind Photographers Guild. As a group we could go after venues not open to me as a single artist. One of these opportunities was Photo LA. Photo LA is sort of a trade show giving us great exposure and contacts. My small group showed at Photo LA for over a decade. We were the only blind folks in a field of sighted photographers. Some of the work the mini grants helped me with are still on world tour with the "Sight Unseen" traveling photography show. The members of the BPG, Bruce Hall, Alice Wingwall, and Kurt Weston, also received mini grants. They are all in the Sight Unseen show.

As I moved into better shows and gained more exposure I was seen by larger companies. Swarovski, Playboy, the TV show NCIS, Volkswagen, and Google contacted me to shoot for them. This is significant because now the commercial market is now looking at blind photographers as viable.

There is an international art movement going on, The Blind Photography Movement. I can now be found in a few art history books taught in colleges.

The mini grants gave me the fulcrum and lever to open a door to make money as an Artist.