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Breaking Barriers logo


Through Our lens


Through Our Lens Home
Leslie Elsasser - Introduction
Selina Roman - Looking Inward, Seeing Clearer
Christian Cortes

Beginning (Section A)
Jarrett Gafford - US Air Force
Dawn S. Hargrett - US Navy
Rebekka Huneke - Daughter of US Air Force Veteran Father
Ramonita Rosa - US Army
Kimberlee Nicole Smith - US Army
Monika Sutton - Wife of US Army Veteran
Karl Young II - US Army Colonel (US Special Operations Command)

Advanced (Section B)
James Alexander - US Air Force
Manfredo Bobadilla - US Army
Wildalys Class - US Air Force
Agustin Collazo Jr. - US Marine Corps / US Navy
Amanda Dodd - US Army
Evan Fountain - US Air Force
Mikko Maki - US Marine Corps
Alicia Morales - US Army
RaeAnne Swanson - US Air Force


Ramonita Rosa, A Sea of Nothing, 2022.

Ramonita Rosa, A Sea of Nothing, 2022.


A Sea of Nothing

These days, people don’t stop and think about details. Our lives are busy, things happen fast, and we don’t have time to stop and pay attention to details. We miss the curves in objects, the lines in faces made by years of experience, the color of skin, or the multitude of colors within water. I was this person until I became legally blind and lost my central vision. The ability to see details was forever gone and I was left with a circle of fog that cleared only when objects were two feet in front of me. This is when I realized how important details are. Without details, the comprehension of people, and of things is incomplete. I missed details and then I needed them. It was in the missing and needing that I began to see the world around me change.

A Sea of Nothing is all about details, yet there are not many to see. During a recent vacation, I was exploring our cruise ship docked in Jamaica. I was happy observing and taking pictures of everything. I noticed the hot tubs, and once vacated, decided it was the ideal moment to enjoy them. My husband was in one tub, I was in the other. I watched him soak, arms crossed behind his head.

He was relaxed and I asked, “what are you thinking about?” He replied “nothing.” My mind exploded with thoughts; did he not see all of what I saw? I jumped out of my pool, grabbed my cellphone, and started photographing. The more images I took, the more I saw. We began talking about the flags and water below and yet, I doubt he paid attention to the details.

Sometimes I feel sad, that we take so many things for granted. We miss opportunities to enjoy the beauty our world offers. I tell my family and friends “that’s so beautiful, and I bet through your eyes it’s even more beautiful.” In response, I get a smile or a nod, knowing they don’t understand.

Photography has become my second pair of eyes. I can enlarge the pictures and see details overlooked by others. I am blessed because I can enjoy those details for myself.



Ramonita Rosa, Colors to Heaven, 2022.

Ramonita Rosa, Colors to Heaven, 2022.

Ramonita Rosa, Subtle Colors in Blue, 2022.

Ramonita Rosa, Subtle Colors in Blue, 2022.



For more information:
Email Leslie Elsasser at

Breaking Barriers is a project by USFCAM in collaboration with the USF School of Art and Art History, with Support from the USF Office of Veterans Success, Community Arts Impact Grant Program of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Love IV Lawrence 2020 Waves of Change Grant, and additional support from the ACE Arts for Community Engagement Fund and the Florida Department of State.