• Dare to Have Vision: The Henry Butler Example


    “I want to talk about being a daring individual, about doing things that might seem to be outside the box,” said Henry Butler as he began his Michael F. Marmor, MD, Lecture in Ophthalmology and the Arts, presented during the Opening Session.

    Blinded by glaucoma as an infant, this multitalented musician, who is particularly known for his piano skills, offered several examples from his own life. For instance, he said, “For much of my life, I spent time driving vehicles, going out on back roads. It was a lot of fun. I bring that up because, early on, I realized that there were more things in life that I wasn’t aware of because of a lack of vision, and I wanted to do some of those things.”

    Mr. Butler also referenced his work as a photographer, which was featured in a 2010 HBO documentary, “Dark Light: The Art of Blind Photographers.” Photography is “one of the things that helped me realize that if you don’t get out there and do the stuff that people think you shouldn’t do, you can’t live a full life.”

    Mr. Butler, who was born in New Orleans “when segregation was king,” gave an overview of his musical education and remarkable life, punctuated by performances of his compositions “Bourbon Street Blues” and “Orleans Inspiration.”

    In speaking of his life, he said, “I’ve learned to get around. Fortunately, in the last 20 to 25 years, technology has been kind to blind people; we can now do many of the things our sighted peers can.”

    He concluded, “We’re on a great path. I can’t wait—I can’t wait—for those self-driving cars! It’s gonna be fun.”—Jean Shaw

    Financial disclosures. None.