Our Autism in Pictures

I attended an exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery called Our Autism in Pictures. The exhibition was a collection of photographs taken by second year photography students from Coventry University of Hereward College students who wanted to show what it is like for them having Autism. The University students had worked with the Autistic students to help them make a photograph that communicates how it feels to have Autism or Aspergers. I found it really insightful as it taught me some things I didn’t know about what it is like to be a student with this learning difficulty. Also it was of interest to me because the images were created from an experience point of view; to give the audience an idea of what it is like to experience this condition. I am creating my body of work to be about dyslexia through the eyes of dyslexic students to show the experience of being at University with dyslexia.

Each of the photographs showed a different feeling or experience. For example one of the students had asked to be photographed reading the Guardian whilst sat inside a model train track to show how he feels like he is instantly judged to be childish just because of his disability when he is infact an adult. Another shows his feeling of isolation with a self-portrait exhibited inside a glass container (isolated from the rest of the world).

The point of the exhibition was to raise awareness of what it was like to have autism. Where as my body of work will be mostly about the positives of having dyslexia. However one student had chosen to highlight his success as a qualified football referee with Aspergers in his work titled ‘Disputed’. So it was helpful for me to see this exhibition. I looked at the way the photographs were displayed. Each student had chosen to display his or her picture differently. I liked the small photographs the best because they required you to go up close to view them. This suited the topic of the exhibition because it is a very personal account of having a learning difficulty. There were two pieces of work that had been displayed as a number of small images. ‘Disputed’ was a collection of nine images mounted on foam-board Velcro to the wall.  ‘Anxiety’ consisted of eight vertical strips of small self-portraits hung up by clips at the top and bottom. I plan to display lots of small images pinned up on the wall so that people will have to come up close to view them, making it a very personal and intimate viewing style. I also liked the display of text and drawings in the glass cabinet in the middle of the exhibition space. Like the written text and drawings on top of my student’s images, the notes and pictures in the cabinet added another layer of information to the photographs acting like a memory box that collaborated their thoughts and feelings about making this body of work.  I am keeping a personal notebook as I go along making my body of work to keep as a collaboration of my memories as I put together my final major project.




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