Another Film Strip

I used  rolls of 35mm film when I took photographs.  Instead of printing each negative, which could be expensive, the developed film was cut into strips and laid out in contact with photographic paper in the dark room. A sheet of glass was placed on top to flatten them out, and they were all exposed at one time. I could choose the appropriate frame from this ‘contact sheet’. I edited the pictures below to resemble a contact sheet.

Contact sheet autistic brother

The top row contains portraits of my two brothers and me. One of my classmates in a portraiture class I attended took an intriguing half-face portrait of me. I wanted to capture the same kind of image of my brothers.

The middle strip of pictures depicts three emotional states in Michael. In the left-hand portrait of this strip, I was walking with Mike around the neighborhood of his group home. He is crying here. I don’t know the reason. Perhaps I broke his routine, or maybe he wanted to be back home. I think I remember talking calmly, telling him we’d be home in a few minutes.

The central picture is Mike biting his hand. I don’t know if he was angry or frustrated. He never lashed out at anyone, to my knowledge, when he was angry. Maybe he was directing it toward himself. Maybe it was a Tourettic, ‘complex motor tic’. However there seems to be emotion here.

The final picture on the right in the middle strip is of Mike and Dad (or Dad’s arm, to be precise). Mike seems somewhat amused, even though Dad is steering him somewhere on their walk in the woods.

The bottom row shows the eyes of by older brother. The portrait on the lower left is of his left eye. It seems to be boring into me. The lower right portrait is interesting and evocative to me, since it seems to convey a tender emotion. The odd thing is, the emotion is expressed in Mike’s right eye. This is the eye that always seems to be looking somewhere else, as shown in the middle frame of this strip; the eye which never seemed to pay me any attention.

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