Visible Spectrum: Portraits From the World of Autism
Visible Spectrum is a book project with photographs of, and narratives by or about, people with autism.
I have been immersed in the world of autism since my son was diagnosed with Aspergers.
While autism can present herculean challenges for some, many people with the condition have remarkable strengths. Singular figures from history who were likely on the autism spectrum include Michelangelo, Newton, Mozart, Austen, Darwin, Turing, Einstein, Emily Dickinson and Warhol. Temple Grandin was only half joking when she said that without autism, humans would still be “standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.”
One thing these groundbreakers shared (on top of intense passion and focus), was seeing the world in a new way; they were the epitome of “out of the box thinkers.” A potential downside of seeing things differently from most people is confusion and anxiety resulting from not understanding others’ motivations (autism being partially a social communication disorder). The most popular website by and for the autism community is called wrongplanet.net.
Most people with autism are not geniuses. But each looks at the world in a unique way, often refreshing in its originality and lack of pretense. We need to better understand the autistic, not only to make the world a kinder place for them, but to broaden our own perspectives.
The project will widen and deepen our experience of autism, and by extension, our experience of difference. Above all, it will help dispel common misperceptions that reinforce stigmas and obscure the strengths of so many on the autism spectrum.