The Rhode Island Portrait Project Erich Manser Blind Triathlete

I have another installment of my very exciting portrait project. I love my community and there are some amazing people making Rhode Island a wonderful place to live. I have decided to photograph the people who are really making “IT” happen here in my community in a (hopefully) creative and fun way that tells a story about who those people are and what they are doing for their little section of the world.

This most recent portrait is of Erich Manser. Erich is an extra-ordinary individual. Not only is he a world-class athlete, but he is legally blind. When I 1st saw Erich in the “Firm Man” triathlon I was mystified 1st at how incredibly fast he was moving but also my mind spun thinking about the difficulty of what he was doing (swimming 1.2 miles in open ocean, running 13.1 miles and biking 56 miles) with out the sight that you and I enjoy and use to navigate the world. He has a limited vision and describes what he can see as looking through a pair of toilet paper rolls with wax paper covering the ends, and he is loosing his eyesight more with every passing day.He is guided through these races by another racer of equal or better athletic ability, they tie a rope to each other for the swim and he runs with his hand on the guides shoulder, and then they ride a tandem bike.

 I really wanted to honor Erich with this portrait. We met to talk about the concept and he explained that before he has starting loosing his eyesight he had been a swimmer and now swimming is his strongest section of the race for him. So we decided to create this portrait in the water. We got up in the dark and went down to the Ocean and waited for the sun light to emerge. So the portrait was actually created before the sunrise in the pre-dawn light.

Here is a link to Erich’s Blog and some more info on his inspirational story.

Dig his tag line, “You don’t need eyesight to have vision” I can only hope my vision does justice to this great man.

Click on the photo to see it at its proper size and watch the video below to find out more about the project.

Erich Manser for the Rhode Island Portrait Project

About Seth Jacobson Photography

Living in Rhode Island and a bit obsessive about photography!!!

Posted on October 14, 2012, in landscape photography, nature, night photography, Ocean photography, portrait photography, Rhode Island Portrait Project and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Wow! What an incredible man! He’s certainly an inspiration, as are you with your fantastic photography. Thanks for sharing his story and your art.

  2. I am still just floored at how you capture these moments Seth. I realize someone is posing, but there is a moment in that pose where it is real and you grab it. I like it!

  3. Erich is purdy cool too! Someone I would like to talk to for an hour or 10.

  4. Bar'bara Hotchkiss

    Thank you for seeing, & shedding beautiful light on, brilliant spirits!
    For whatever reason, i feel inclined to introduce you to a kindred spirit, Tracy Jordan, from the Rocky Mts (transplanted from Ithaca) who also photographs/blogs with inspired & inspiring sharing, albeit more about nature & our human involvement in it. While she’s studying, she’s limited her play/work to more personal adventures, but you might find it of interest. If you’re inclined, check her stuff out at
    i hope its ok to send her your link too, as i KNOW she’ll find your work as fabulous as all the rest of us!

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