Broad Spectrum - Luke

When I first set out to photograph people with autism I found it hard to get subjects.  I believe that parents aren't always ready to have their kids photographed when they have ASD because, and believe me when I say I speak from experience, it can be a very challenging thing.  We tried to do a big formal shoot with my husband's family for his parent's anniversary when my son was about 2.5 years old and I believe my husband and I still have PTSD from it.  All our son wanted to do was ride in the elevator the entire time, not sit in a strange place in a mall being bombarded with stimuli doing something is DID NOT want to do.  No one in my husband's family knew what was going on with our kid and we weren't ready to tell them anything...not at that time anyway.  I'm sure they just thought what most people do when they don't have a clue, "What the hell is wrong with that kid?"  So to sum it up - NIGHTMARE!

When I arrive at a family's house to do a Broad Spectrum shoot, I really just kind of lay low and follow the child around.  I also have to tell each and every parent to erase every fantasy they have ever had about their child having that perfect smile, while they sit still for their portrait.  Because that may never happen.  But I can promise them that I will get some photographs that will represent who their child is at that moment, on that day, on that month, during that year.

Luke's mom was willing to take a chance with me.  Our first shoot (which I have chosen not to publish) took place two years ago.  I attended his equestrian therapy session.  It was pretty amazing and that that time Luke could hardly walk.  He was small and weak.

When I showed up this morning for Luke's second shoot, I couldn't believe how much progress he had made.  While he is still non verbal, he is running and is amazingly strong now.  It was so great to spend time with his mother and compare war stories.  Ann, Luke's mother, is going to allow me to post her family's story.  When I receive it I will post more images of Luke.  But I couldn't not post a few teasers from today's shoot.

Here are few shots from today.  I arrived right in the middle of Luke's ABA session, which I was allow to photograph too.