Creating Positive Memories

Some of you may recall a blog post I made a year ago (Just What The Doctor Ordered) with a small insight into our world with a child on the Autism Spectrum.

I wanted to share a little background to my photography & in particular my style & approach due to the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It sounds radical that my family sessions have been molded & altered thanks to my son's difficulty with eye contact & social interaction; but in reality he has helped to increase my awareness of other disabilities & create a more organic & unobtrusive approach.

For Will, making eye contact can be excrutiating, apparently like a feeling of your eyes burning, & often his glances are fleeting if at all. It's also difficult to get the classic smiles & grins that you expect from a 6 year old with a camera pointed at them. Instead he says 'cheese' over & over with a blank, dead-pan expression on his face. It seems so false, awkward & horrible that I very rarely get a 'nice' image of him in this way.......strangely I always give it a go, just in case!

 A classic cheesy grin & the awkward half-smile

A classic cheesy grin & the awkward half-smile

These guys always get to be my guinea pigs, especially when there's gorgeous light & the only other prospect is cooking dinner.

 So proud of my big bro'

So proud of my big bro'

By setting up a play experience; a climbing game, treasure hunt, sandcastle building or jumping competition helps him relax & be himself. The anxiety to 'perform' for the camera is alleviated & suddenly I can see genuine laughter & smiles. The photographs become part of the journey & reflect the adventure & feelings. 

More often than not, Will looks back on these moments in the photographs & comments about what he was doing & smiles. He doesn't express his feelings, although if he did I'm sure that they'd be feelings of joy & happiness rather than the scratchy, stiff & grating experience he gets from a formal pose.

When a friend of mine said that she wanted photos of her children, like the ones I take of mine, then I knew that by recording natural moments I could create positive memories that truly represent who people are.

So, join the revolution! Lets make photos that are reflections of who our children are & the moments we love.....let the real smiles roll!