I began photographing Mike, my older brother, on his 40th birthday. I wanted to try figuring him out. Since I was a child, Mike was unreachable. In 1952, he was diagnosed with autism and ‘profound retardation’, according to the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM I). Mike is nonverbal to this day.
On one of my visits to Mike’s group home I saw him sitting in a chair with an expression I had never seen before. I took a photo. I discussed it at great length in my post I Need to Dig Out My Journals.
The photo is contrasty and grainy, but it gives me a feeling of profound sadness. This is what I believe Mike was feeling at the time.
I want to apply my process of abstracting the essential visual elements of this photo to express the emotional content with the least amount of detail. I begin below with fully detailed sketches:
Neither of these sketches convey the sadness I see in the original photograph. I did not capture Mike’s teary eye.