Michael Looking at his Portrait

I always had my camera equipment with me when I visited Michael. I was hot on the trail of capturing the image that would explain it all.

I was proud of one particular portrait of Michael, and printed a special copy for him. I wondered what he would do when he saw it. Below is a record of my attempt to capture Michael’s moment of recognition. Did I expect him to jump up, hug me and say, “Damn, Jack, that is a great picture”? Not consciously. But nothing happened at all. If it did, it was subliminal. I don’t even know if he looked at the picture or if he realized what was in front of him. I couldn’t tell anything from his expression. My ‘image-that-would-explain-it-all’ was not to be, that day.

autistic sibling viewing portrait

I brought pictures for the other residents as well. When I showed J___ his portrait, he smiled, pointed to the picture and then to himself. He did this several times. After each gesture, he looked questioningly at me. I shook my head, ‘yes’, and he became very excited. J___ is deaf and intellectually challenged, but he always tried talking with me when I visited. I could usually understand what he was trying to say. I was very happy that he liked his picture.

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