Many photographers from around the world set their sights on the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. But none was like Joao Maia.
The 41-year-old Brazilian photographer produced inspiring images of the competition that wrapped up last Sunday even though he lost his eyesight to an infection when he was 28.
“You don’t need to see to take photographs. My eyes are in my heart,” Maia told French news agency Agence France-Presse. “Photography is about sensitivity. I think it’s marvelous to be able to show how I perceive the world, how I see it, sense it.”
Maia worked as a letter carrier in Sao Paulo, and learned to use a cane and to read Braille. He also became interested in photography despite only being able to see some shapes and colours that are close to him, AFP reported.
Maia apparently learned on a traditional camera when he became serious about the art form and now has since switched to smartphones.
“When I am close enough I feel the runners’ heartbeats, their steps and then I’m ready to take the picture. But with noise and distance I find it difficult,” he told the agency.
According to AFP, the photographer has help with the editing process and uploading to Maia’s social media accounts.
“Without them I could do nothing. They help me with the editing, which I could never do, and they put my pictures up on social networks,” he said in the interview.
Here’s a look at some of images Maia shared on Instagram.