Why I Prefer 50mm Lens Photography

Born blind, Tom Clabots best sees the world with a 50mm lens

Some photographers swear by shooting with a 50mm prime lens for all occasions because you get a view that is closest to what our eyes normally see but with tunnel vision. The 50mm cuts out the information that lives on the sidelines of vision. Imagine constantly seeing the world with the straight vision of a 50mm, and you would be seeing the world like Tom Clabots.

When photographer Tom Clabots was born in Belgium, the doctors learned that he was blind. After 15 surgeries, Tom was miraculously able to see the world. Even with his remarkable recovery, he suffers from glaucoma, cataract, and astigmatism. As a consequence, he has no depth perception and suffers from tunnel vision. Upon cultivating a strong interest in photography, Tom purchased a 50mm lens and met his perfect match. The 50mm best represents the way that Tom experiences the world.

Tom explains, “Most people have a very open field of view, but this is something I’ve never experienced because my poor vision. It took my parents 18 years to explain to me how regular people see. I always figured everyone could see what’s in front of them, and that’s it. When I found out that everyone could also see sideways, without moving their heads, I was shocked. I remember asking my mom, “How can you live like this? Doesn’t all that information give you the biggest migraine?’”

Clabots explains that having tunnel vision actually helps him progress as a photographer, “The biggest advantage—I don’t need to hold my camera in front of my face to see new compositions, I’m living it 24/7.”

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