Rachel and Peter won the bid for my donation of a 2010 Family Story photo session at the recent ACT Autism Asperger Gala Dinner fundraiser. They have two children, Olivia, aged 14, and Max, who has Autism, aged 11.
There are a few distinctive things about Autism and I wondered how I would handle them during the photo session. There is a notable lack of social connection. Eye contact is tricky. Repetition of simple ideas and concepts is very common. Awareness and consideration to others is challenging. So, given that my photography focuses on connection, interaction and spirit, I wondered what sorts of things I would see and how that would translate into photographs. I have to say, I did feel some trepidation going in, but then at the same time, my mission was to capture this family experience authentically, Autism and all.
I have to give a hats off to the parents and siblings of children with Autism. Despite the day to day challenge of living with it, Rachel, Peter and Olivia (and Rugby and Major the dogs) all provide the best care and support possible to Max. They look tired, maybe a bit more than normal. Yes, Max’s needs come first. But wow, what an amazing family…as Rachel says, you just do it. That’s the card you were dealt and you handle it the best you can, with the best advice you can access at the time.
Max is a lucky chappy. And really fun to photograph! What a beautiful and touching family story. Thank you Peter, Rachel, Olivia and Max, for inviting me into your very special world.
Holding Max’s hand as he reads is helpful for his learning.
Olivia turned 14 recently and we were going through her photos.
Olivia is very caring (and Rachel is proud of that).
Max is a wriggle-pot but loves a good cuddle.
My favourite from the day.
In an instant Olivia had scooped Max up with her on the trampoline.
Jumping on the trampoline is something they love to do together.
A quiet moment inside, I love the gentle touch and the peeping Tom in the background.
Busy, busy everybody talks at once!
Max runs his hand along the wire spiral of the photo album.
Not Rachel’s favourite here – but I’ve included them as I learned something about Autism.
Eye contact is hard for Max, so to counter it she looked directly at him.
He flicked Rachel’s hair to cover her eyes, something of course she detests.
Patient mamma she is, she will persist.
Girl talk over cupcakes!
So beautiful Peter!
Some helpful links for Autism:
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