In the reference photograph for this sketch, I used a detached flash. This resulted in a clear, high-contrast photo. One of the changes I would make in this sketch would be to make his left hand a bit smaller. It looks like someone else’s finger is in Mike’s ear. I should also work on getting the correct tilt of the head. I seem to straighten up all the portraits I copy from photos. (Go figure.)
Dad used to try clapping Mike’s hands along with music. Mike resisted most of the time. Like us, Dad had no idea what was going on in brother Mike’s head. Mike is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. When Mike was a toddler, Dad told me that he was able to sing along with some of the classic music that played in the house all the time. I remember when Mike often responded by anticipating the surprise in Hayden’s Surprise Symphony. That also was short lived. I miss those days.
When I used to roam around the neighborhoods of New York, where I lived at the time, I took many photographs of settings that caught my eye. Visual elements were not the only consideration that caused my finger to snap the shutter. At the time I took the picture below, I was not having any luck with the dating scene. Somehow the iron spikes, the posters and the romantic scene made a meaningful combination to memorialize on film.
Mike used to like to steal food. Another resident didn’t take kindly to that.