Tactile Images Partners With Getty Images and the National Federation of the Blind to Deliver More Than 45 Million Images to the World's Blind and Disabled Population

Blind People Share What Photography and Art They Want to Experience First. National Federation of the Blind Granting $500,000 to Museums and Institutions for Tactile Exhibition Displays.

Tactile Image of 'The Mona Lisa'

Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, and the National Federation of the Blind, America's civil rights and membership organization of the blind, have partnered with Tactile Images to deliver more than 45 million images to the world's blind and disabled population at museums, science centers, libraries, schools, and government agencies. This partnership will significantly enhance educational opportunities and cultural inclusion for blind and disabled individuals.

As part of this initiative, more than 50,000 members of the blind community shared what photography and art they wanted to experience first. The National Federation of the Blind reinforced this by announcing that they will be granting $500,000 to museums and institutions for the development of tactile exhibition displays.

"Blind people have all the same interests, concerns, and aspirations as all who participate in our society and culture, and that culture is reflected in the millions of images that this partnership will help us access," said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. "We look forward to working with Tactile Images and Getty Images to curate a collection that will include, inform, and inspire the blind of America and the world."

Getty Images, the National Federation of the Blind, and Tactile Images are committed to participating in initiatives that provide greater accessibility to visual resources, with an emphasis on photography and fine art, that represent the world's people and cultures, including the blind and those with disabilities. This commitment involves helping people fully understand and experience the society within which they live, providing unique educational perspectives and increasing access to content that may have previously been inaccessible. This partnership reinforces a collective commitment to improving accessibility for and inclusion of people from all backgrounds, including those who are blind.

"In a world where communication is largely visual, Getty Images is thrilled to partner with the National Federation of the Blind and Tactile Images to allow the blind community to more fully engage with and experience our pictures," said Peter Orlowsky, Head of Strategic Development at Getty Images.

Tactile Images has several product offerings, all of which allow a blind individual to experience and engage with traditionally visual and graphic material through touch and sensory stimulation. Each is a unique, one-of-a-kind work of art. To further assist in creating a more interactive experience, braille is utilized for text, and sensors are embedded so that when touched, a customized audio description and narrative is activated. Components that emit unique smells can also be used. These three senses - touch, hearing, and smell - work together in the brain to replace the sense of sight. The blind or low-vision user creates a mental picture from this confluence of sensory stimulation. Touching a tactile print while listening to a coordinated audio presentation creates an enhanced kinesthetic learning experience.

"At Tactile Images, we are very excited that Getty Images and the National Federation of the Blind have decided to partner with us. This partnership will help to bring tactile imagery to the blind and disabled on a global scale," says John Olson, Co-Founder of 3DPhotoWorks, the parent company of Tactile Images. "I've always believed that truly 'seeing' an image involves much more than just the sense of sight. As the notable American neuroscientist, Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita, once stated, 'We don't see with our eyes or hear with our ears; these are just the receptors, seeing and hearing in fact, goes on in the brain.' We look forward to partnering with museums, science centers, libraries, and government agencies to make their existing content more accessible while also creating new and innovative installations and exhibitions."

Tactile Images will also develop several traveling exhibitions in collaboration with Getty Images and the National Federation of the Blind. These exhibitions travel to museums, educational centers, and institutions throughout the world. They include a diverse array of engaging topics and narratives, increase community-based partnerships, and maximize an institution's space, attendance, and participation. Furthermore, they promote inclusion, critical skills acquisition, independence, and self-confidence.

For more information, visit www.tactileimages.com.

General media inquiries should be directed to:

Bradley LaMere
Senior Creative Officer and Vice President of Marketing
Tactile Images and 3DPhotoWorks
518-392-4836 (office); 518-332-3592 (cell)
blamere@tactileimages.com (preferred)

Matt McKibben
PR Manager, The America's
Getty Images
646-613-3701; 347-776-0128 (cell)

Broadcast media inquiries should be directed to:

Bob Wheelock
Executive Producer

About Tactile Images:

Tactile Images is committed to providing tactile experiences for the blind and disabled. These transformative experiences allow for an intimate connection with a wide range of visual and graphic material, especially photography and fine art. Images designed for touch provide the opportunity to acquire visual information independently, without relying on recorded descriptions or the interpretation of a sighted companion. Users can explore the depth and complexity of their favorite artworks and images, often for the first time. Tactile printing is an innovative process patented by 3DPhotoWorks, the parent company of Tactile Images, which converts any image into a three-dimensional tactile print that blind and disabled individuals assemble in their mind's eye through touch, sound, and smell. Customized audio narratives, as well as components that emit unique smells, enhance the experience. Tactile Images' partnership with Getty Images and the National Federation of the Blind reinforces their mission to deliver tactile images to every museum, science center, library, and government agency worldwide. Visit Tactile Images at www.tactileimages.com and via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

About the National Federation of the Blind:

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

About Getty Images:

Getty Images is one of the most trusted and esteemed sources of visual content in the world, with over 415 million assets including photos, videos, and music, available through its industry-leading sites www.gettyimages.com and www.istock.com. The Getty Images website serves creative, business and media customers in nearly every country in the world and is the first-place people turn to discover, purchase and share powerful visual content from the world's best photographers and videographers. Getty Images works with over 340,000 contributors and hundreds of image partners to provide comprehensive coverage of more than 160,000 news, sport and entertainment events each year, impactful creative imagery to communicate any commercial concept and the world's deepest digital archive of historic photography.

Visit Getty Images at www.gettyimages.com to learn more about how the company is advancing the unique role of still and moving imagery in communication and business, enabling creative ideas to come to life. For company news and announcements, visit our Press Room, and for the stories and inspiration behind our content, visit gettyimages.creativeinsights.com. Find Getty Images on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or download the Getty Images app where you can explore, save and share the world's best imagery.


Source: Tactile Images

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