The Downtown Gallery Presents: REFRAMING THE REAL GOOD LOOKING BOY: IMAGES ON RAISING AN AUTISTIC CHILD by Albert Reischuck
REAL GOOD LOOKING BOY
by Albert Reischuck
Images on raising an autistic child.
May 26 – July 4, 2015
reception: May 27th, 5–7 PM
I photograph my son Alec on a regular basis, with and without his older sister. However, in the process of doing so I usually edit out the pictures that clearly reveal his autism before posting anything for friends and family to see on social media sites like Facebook. In many cases that is easy, as he can now sit still and smile momentarily for a traditional photo, which used to be quite a struggle for us. Alec got the nickname “The Real Good Looking Boy” (the title of a 2004 song by The Who) from me soon after he was born eight years ago, and I sometimes keep that nickname current by calling him that and I keep the spirit of that nickname alive via the pictures that people see of him online that accent his charm and his smile.
But of course his life and ours are not what we could have imagined at the time of his birth. Alec remains largely nonverbal, that is, unable to communicate many important feelings and unable to ask questions in sentence form, hence the need for a PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System). There are also his uncontrolled movements, illogical/nonsensical utterances and obsessive tendencies, such as throwing dirt in the air, focusing on his pair of Minions and his Little Einsteins Rocket toy, removing his shoes when upset, and taking extended time to put on his socks and shoes each morning when I am getting him ready for his day. Although he has shown steady improvement in many of these areas in the past year, new manifestations of the disorder oftentimes replace expired ones.
Alec’s family and the children with whom he plays in the neighborhood have long ago become acclimated to his otherness, and this notion of his being a part of the world around him and also existing separately from it is the focus of this collection, which in many cases employs photographs that were shot with a 20mm wide angle lens and converted to black and white with a slight silver color adjustment, in part as a reference to photographers such as Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and Vivian Maier who worked back in the days of film (I presently work only in digital). The “reframing” refers to my attempts to include many sides of Alec that I had previously chosen to edit from the visual narratives of our lives and his.
Admission is free and open to the public.
The Downtown Gallery is located at: 141 East Main Street in the heart of Kent, Ohio. Gallery hours are Mon-Wed 9:30 am-6:00 pm, Thurs 9:30 am-8:00 pm, Fri 9:30 am-7:00 pm, Sat 10:00 am-4:00 pm & Sun 12:00 pm-5:00 pm , Phone (330) 676-1549