Adam Morse is a filmmaker, actor, model, singer, writer, director, producer, and the founder of his own charity—the Crystal Vision Foundation.
As you may have read in our Love Hero Collaboration story, I met Adam Morse in Cannes while attending the Outlyer launch in May 2022.
It seemed I had no choice BUT to meet him. Almost everyone I met at the Cannes launch party asked me if I’d met Adam yet. “You must meet Adam!” They praised the work he was doing for creatives with visual impairment through his newly founded Crystal Vision Foundation. Surely I knew about the documentary he was making about blind film directing?
Each time he was pointed out to me, he was surrounded by supermodels, other glitterati or the press. He was in demand, and I hadn’t a clue on how to break through the crowds that seemed to surge up to him whenever he appeared to be alone.
Finally, I had my chance. I opened my phone to my contacts as I hurried up to him alone for just a moment poolside.
“Hi Adam, my name is Craig Crawford and everyone has told me I must meet you.”
He turned and looked at my face and said, “Oh hello.” I quickly explained I was the founder of Differently Enabled and our purpose and then blurted out, “And your work and reputation precede you! Everyone has said we need to meet and chat. But you are in high demand here. So here’s my phone,” I said as I thrust it into his hands. “I’ve opened my contacts and started creating a new entry. So if you’d just put your details in here, then I can text you, and you’ll have my info. and later we can set up a time to properly talk outside of this event.”
Adam looked down at the phone in his hands, then looked back up at me and said with all sincerity, “But Dude. I’m blind.”
“What?!” I shouted and began to laugh hysterically at the top of my lungs. “Everyone told me about the work you are doing FOR the blind, but no one told me you ARE blind! OMG, I’m really good at wedging my foot in my mouth and I’ve managed to do that here!”
We both had a good laugh! Adam gave me his details and before I could finish storing them, the wave of important people was descending on him again. “I’m London based,” he offered over the throng. “So if not here, we can catch up there!” I shouted my thanks and retreated still laughing at how I had no idea Adam was blind.
Later that week in Cannes I went to a beach bar with Laura Hammed, Founder of the Columbus Children’s Foundation and Board member of Adam’s Crystal Vision Foundation. As our cocktails were being served, I noticed that Adam and his entourage were being seated next to us. I motioned to Laura and got up and walked over. “Hi, Adam. It’s Craig. You remember me, the idiot who wasn’t aware you are blind?!”
“Of course I do,” he replied and retold the story to his guests at the bar. For us the joke never gets old.
A few weeks later, we properly caught up over lunch in London, and I confessed to Adam that I prefer not to Google someone before I meet them. He said the same and so we shared our work and our life stories pre-Googling.
He told me that he reads people’s energy, and has no trouble looking at someone’s face when they are speaking to him. In fact, he said, in one television interview with several participants, one of the interviewers challenged his blindness, BECAUSE he turned to face people as they spoke. “It felt like a witch hunt,” he told me. “Like I was pretending to be blind? Why would I pretend to be blind!?”
Later when I did google Adam I learned that he is the world’s first award-winning blind filmmaker. In 2009, at the age of nineteen, he lost his sight. Adam has a rare mitochondrial disease called LHON. His younger brother was also diagnosed with LHON that same year. “No one else in our family has this that we are aware of,” he told me.
Adam became a trailblazer for differently enabled filmmakers after the 2020 critical success of his feature directorial debut ‘Lucid’ which starred Billy Zane. Adam told no one of his blindness and eventually revealed his condition to his producer and to Billy Zane. Headlines like, “Coming Out of the Blind Closet” were prolific. “People have stereotypes of what blind people should look and act like,” he told me. “I’m not any of those.” Tell me about me it. LOL.
Adam has also made headlines for becoming a “Blind Action Star” after appearing in a recurring role in the Apple TV+ series ‘SEE’ (starring Jason Momoa), where he performed his own stunts on horseback.
And it is Differently Enabled’s bragging rights to proclaim that Adam is the first Blind Model to Walk during LFW, at our London Represents Show in 2022.
Adam is currently starring as a fully sighted serial killer in Julia Varvara’s new psychological crime drama Suppression, which was recently selected for the OSCAR-qualifying February 2023 Sedona International Film Festival in Arizona.
Adam may be blind but he can see; he is a visionary. Working with him has given me insights into how we perceive sight, blindness and quite frankly each other. We laugh a lot at ourselves.
Through the Crystal Vision Foundation Adam aims to inspire a new wave of blind artists across all art forms to express themselves creatively and find professional pathways to make a living doing what they love. Adam will host a press launch for the Crystal Vision Foundation at this month’s Cannes Film Festival.
Differently Enabled X Adam Morse & The Crystal Vision Foundation
Together we have created two print collections: “Can You See” and “Day Vision.”
“The Can You See” collection is more than words and more than a question. “Can You See” is an open-ended challenge about our perceptions, our behaviours, our attitudes and our values. Indeed “Can You See” everything? The mind reels.
LHON is one of the rarest genetic eye conditions in the world. As Adam’s optic nerves fail, they project pinpoints of light over whatever lies in his field of vision. It’s like multi-coloured sparkles on top of everything, even when his eyes are closed. In fact, the only time he doesn’t see this is when he is asleep.
To better understand how people with sight loss might see the world, we have created our interactive “Day Vision” configurable print collection. To “see the world through the eyes of people with LHON,” you can upload an image, and layer on top the LHON filter. You can then share your “Day Vision” on social media as well as have it printed on a choice of garments.
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