The picture of Mike, my older brother, on the swing set in the back yard shows him looking at the camera. (I posted this picture a couple of days ago.) He looks like a regular little boy, probably about 7 or 8 years of age. What the viewer does not see is that Michael is autistic, diagnosed as profoundly retarded, and had never spoken.
I have an earlier family snapshot of Mike on a swing. Again, he is standing, and appears to be looking at Dad, who was probably taking the picture. In this instance, Mike’s head is cocked, as if he has a question. The clue that something is not quite right comes the fog, obscuring the lower part of the picture. This serendipitous artifact is a graphic representation of the barrier surrounding Michael. Or maybe, by some freak of physics, Dad’s camera caught the invisible, impenetrable stuff that prevents anyone from making contact with Mike.
In the photograph below, I wanted to capture Mike and Dad together on the swing set. I knew I would compare it to the early childhood picture. Although visually, these photographs are not related, the separation between Mike and everything else to comes across.