BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- A blind photographer's vision to change people's perceptions of artists with disabilities is making a difference around Colorado.
Ted Tahquechi's love for photography began in 1986 when he started snapping pictures as a hobby.
However, he put his camera down when his career pushed him towards his true love: video games.
Tahquechi was a Senior Producer with the Atari Corporation and developed several games for Atari's 'Jaguar' gaming system. 'Jaguar' was a semi-popular game console that debuted in 1993.
[Note: Channel 2's Kevin Torres will reflect on the 'Jaguar' later in this article.]
"I worked in the game industry until the car accident. After the accident I can’t play games anymore, because I can’t see things on the screen anymore," Tahquechi said.
You see, Tahquechi was involved in a car accident while living in California. Someone rammed into the back of his car, pushing Tahquechi forward, damaging his eyes.
He basically lost 95% of his vision.
"For 4 or 5 years I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself," he said.
But then he picked himself back up, as well as something else.
"I think picking up the camera for me really changed things and gave me more of a direction of where I wanted to go," Tahquechi reflected.
Given his recent disability, he discovered a new ability.
"People ask me how I can be a photographer with no vision. And that’s really something I’ve answered easily by saying, ‘lack of sight, doesn’t mean lack of vision’." Tahquechi added.
For the last six years, Tahquechi has been working on a photography exhibit that'll soon be on display for anyone to see. He decided to take portraits to a new level, by redefining what a 'portrait' is.
"A picture of someone’s back or belly is unique to that person and you’re never going to get that same lighting or same person at that same time - and for me, that’s what a portrait [is]," he said.
Tahquechi's collection will be on display at the VSA Gallery in Denver's Santa Fe Art District. It opens February 17 at 5pm. The display will continue through the end of March to honor the 'Month of Photography', Tahquechi said.
To see some samples of the photographer's work - and to learn more about his mission - watch Kevin Torres' "Unique 2 Colorado" segment about Tahquechi. Just select 'play' on the video featured in this story.
[Reporter's Note: Channel 2's Kevin Torres wrote this post after meeting Tahquechi and learning about his past involvement with Atari's 'Jaguar' gaming console: Today I met a hero of mine I didn't even know existed. The year was 1993. I was a poor kid growing up in upstate New York, living in a one bedroom apartment with my mother and my sister. My father had left us-and left us with absolutely nothing. My mother refused to take any child support from him, telling the courts she wanted to do it on her own.
Now, being a single parent, as many of you know, isn't easy. You have to work a ton of hours and pray to God you have a good job. My mom had an OK job, given the fact she didn't have a college degree. She was a phone operator at what was then a company called NYNEX.
My sister and I rarely saw her because she would always take overtime shifts in order to afford rent, groceries and most importantly: a good life for my sister and I. You see, she didn't want us to know we were poor.
So, back to the importance of the year 1993. That's when Atari came out with a new game system called the 'Jaguar'. This thing was supposed to be the coolest video game console in the world! And boy was it.
Despite the fact my mom probably couldn't afford it, she still found a way to get me a Jaguar for Christmas. I was ecstatic. I got a few games with it and over the year ended up collecting some more. It was one of the best years of my life. And to this day one of my favorite videogame systems.
Fast-forward to today and my assignment was to shoot a story in Broomfield about a photographer who has a special gift, allowing people to see things the way he does. You'll hear more about him later on. After we started the interview, I asked him what he used to do before retirement.
Well, it turns out he designed nearly every game for the 'Jaguar'! I mean every single game that I've ever played! When I heard that, you should've seen the smile that lit up on my face :-) this man played a big role in my childhood and who knew we would ever cross paths.
And now, I get to tell his story. Which I hope you folks will tune into. Ted, thank you for making part of my childhood extra special.
Sincerely, a very grateful Kevin Torres. 🕹🤓🎮😁]