Part collaborative project, part creative leap of faith, "The Blind Leading the Blind" at Ohio Art League features works by two photographers who combine images made literally in the dark. A blindfold and a trusted guide became as instrumental in their creation as the camera.

Part collaborative project, part creative leap of faith, "The Blind Leading the Blind" at Ohio Art League features works by two photographers who combine images made literally in the dark. A blindfold and a trusted guide became as instrumental in their creation as the camera.

"Like all good stories, this one begins at an Appalachian gas station," recalled artist Elizabeth Nihiser, who worked with longtime friend Melissa Miller on the show.

Nihiser sought to expand on an earlier collaboration between them, inspired by "shoot from the hip" photography, in which Miller led her on a blindfolded picture-taking tour around Columbus. This time, each would have their turn working without sight, and the finished product would have to reflect the aesthetic interests of both the rurally focused Nihiser and the urban-centered Miller.

As Miller explained, "The specific locations on each trip were kept secret by having the shooter blindfolded from the time we entered the car together, until we arrived back at the starting location."

After meeting Nihiser at the gas station, Miller kept her eyes covered for traveling and shooting through part of the Hocking Canal in Southeastern Ohio, close to Nihiser's childhood home. A visit to decaying urban areas in Columbus followed, with Nihiser wearing the blindfold and taking the pictures.

Each worked with the same lens and camera settings on two consecutive days, under similar weather conditions, with only sound, slightly perceived variations of light and minimal input from the other indicating where to point the camera.

Next, both brought their eyes to the process of combining the photos in simple collages, which place sections of the urban landscapes within the rural scenes. Pairings highlight the visual connections between ornate wrought iron fencing and tangles of branches, or the colors that unite dying foliage, corporate logos and graffiti-marked brick walls.

"For any collaboration, you need to trust the person that you're working with and be comfortable with who they are and what they bring to the project," Nihiser said. "Mel and I are very different, but we managed to accept each other's weaknesses while allowing our strengths to be utilized."