typing about ‘tactile mind’ from my bed.

I’m not really used to writing about myself (Lisa J. Murphy) in the first person, but I have to do my daily blog and so I will try.  It’s amazing that no matter how old I am, as soon as I catch the flu, I resort to my 12 year old self.

If you’re just tuning in now to this blog site, i’ll give you a quick catch-up.

tactile mind is a book of nude (3-D) photographs for the blind & vision impaired. I make this book by myself  & by hand. It is self-published. I would say it’s a collector’s item, because of  the uniqueness of this project and  handmade nature of this book.  The tactile diagrams are made from photographs I have actually taken (photographs are not shown on my website). This book has received so much attention, because it is being heralded as the first book of nude photographs for the blind and vision impaired in the world. People everywhere have opinions on this work calling it “erotic” , “sensual”, “original art”, “fetish – orientated”, “pornographic!?” and some people don’t like it at all. I think it’s really great that a book created for the blind and vision impaired has resulted in international dialogue.

What can I say today about ‘tactile mind’? Well, I wish I felt well enough to press some pages and bind a couple of books – instead of hanging out in bed, toilet paper roll beside me, waiting for my next sneeze.

Local press is picking up on this work – slowly but surely. Canada with it’s conservative thinking is starting to come around. Amazing, considering the U.S. and European networks picked up the story a couple of weeks ago.  But hey,Canada really is a beautiful country to live in, and Toronto itself has pockets of beauty – you just have to know were to find them.

One of my favorite interviews has to be the one for CNN – I had fed-ex’d my book to them the day before and I get a phone call from the producer who says “we’re going to interview you in 10 minutes”. Can anybody guess the number of cigarettes I nervously smoked waiting for that call? wow!

I believe the BBC world service interview was a couple of days before that. I was meant to be on camera – travelling across Toronto to get to an address that didn’t exist – they had booked the interview in Ottawa. So I did the interview in my boyfriend’s truck in the middle of  Toronto rush-hour traffic. If anyone out there  has to do a high-profile interview where somebody is unhappy with your idea or product, just breathe & try to keep your cool, and do the best you can. Those of you that  have  listened to this interview will know what I’m talking about…..It can be downloaded from the first page of this site www.tactilemindbook.com or on the wall page of my Facebook site.

I could keep writing, but my coughing fits are killing me.

Until tomorrow, Lisa


To me,(Lisa J. Murphy) ‘tactile mind’ the book illustrates:

-the need for more (different) adult picture / literature books in the world for the vision impaired and blind population.

-sex and (any kind of)  disability should share the same sentence. We are all human beings, we should all have equal access to erotic/ sex-related products.

-we should all have equal access to art, and visual stimuli, no matter what our abilities or disabilities are.


General feedback about ‘tactile mind’.

Some people like it, some people dislike it – most people haven’t looked at my website or seen/felt  the 3-D  book. It’s amazing the impact media has on people’s opinions.

People are calling it  “original”, “artistic”, “erotic”, “sensual”, “fetish-orientated”, & “pornographic”. People everywhere are entitled to their opinions, and have made them…..

Different media outlets or blog posts are calling it expensive.  These people have not visited my website, or emailed me to ask me questions. As a 1 person publishing house, producing my own work, I do sell individual pages of ‘tactile mind’, because I know not everyone can afford the complete book.  I have worked multiple waitressing and minimum wage jobs in the past couple of years to pay for this work. It is incredibly expensive and time consuming to create. ‘tactile mind’ is self-published and handmade. It has been “out” since 2008, and I have been dragging it around in plastic containers to erotic art fairs and galleries.

‘tactile mind’ is a cool book of my nude photographs for the vision impaired and blind to read, period.


Why was grade-one Braille used for ‘tactile mind’? What does it say?

Lisa worked with professional Braillist(s) who used grade-one Braille, so (she felt) the work could be easily understood by a wider audience. This  Braille is written letter by letter, so even a sighted person could download the Braille alphabet off the computer and stumble through the descriptions of the photographs.  The Braille accompanying ‘tactile mind’ is in (American) English, which is the standard for North America.

The Braille describes the photograph – how it is cropped, the mask, if the subject is turned to the side, etc. Generally when a blind reader  ‘sees’ a tactile diagram of a person, the diagram is head to feet, facing forward.  The Braille description given in ‘tactile mind’ helps guide the reader through the photographs for a better understanding.


What was the process for creating tactile diagrams for ‘tactile mind’?

For her tactile diagrams, Lisa began with an idea of what she would like to photograph, and who. She would make the majority of  masks and costumes from household goods, grab a subject, dress them up, and start shooting with 35mm film and her trusty manual Nikon. When she received her photographs back from the lab, Lisa would then decide which one might work the best for tuning into a tactile diagram and would go from there.

1. Lisa would enlarge the photograph to a size she would want to work with.

2.Lisa would then layer and build the photograph upwards with clay, metal,cardboard, string – anything that wouldn’t burn or give off toxic fumes at high heat.

3. This diagram would then go into an oven to bake/set – hopefully not breaking / cracking with the heat.

4. Out of the oven, the diagram would cool and then be placed in the thermoform machine with a piece of heavy Braillon (aka. thermoform plastic) on top – hopefully not breaking / cracking with the heat.

5. 3-D imprint is made into the plastic, and the page is taken to a blind proofreader for feedback.

6. Steps 2-5 then repeated until diagram is done to the best of her abilities, and is completely understandable by a proofreader(s); correctly depicting her photograph.

-Each image would take approximately 50 hours in total; from conception to completion.


How and when did the idea for ‘tactile mind’ happen?

5 years ago, Lisa J. Murphy was making tactile diagrams for vision impaired & blind childrens’ educational books, and thought “why not?”. Lisa had received a certificate in Tactile Graphics from the Institute for the Blind, and decided to use her new  knowledge with her own photographs of artistic nudes. Lisa wanted to challenge herself, and she began to create tactile pictures for adults. Over the next 2 years, her idea turned into a book consisting of 17 3-D pictures, with grade-one Braille accompaniment.