Shading and Evading

Over a period of about 10 years or so, I must have taken 300 rolls of film of my brother Mike. I combined these photos with old family snapshots, my journal entries and information garnered from my parents, to create a photographic memoir.

It is a safe bet to say Mike didn’t know that I was using my photography to understand him. He is very low functioning, autistic and has never spoken. I imagine that to him, I was just a guy with a funny black box I held up to my eye every few minutes. I inspected each and every photo to get a clue about my relationship with him, as if there might be some hidden visual cues that I may have missed in real life.

Now and then, (I think) Mike would give me an indication that he had had enough.

Photograph: Jack and Mike in Park 1

Mike Shades
Photo of Book Illustration

He put his hand in front of the camera just as I snapped the shutter. He also seems to think it funny. Maybe he was just smiling at me, or reaching out.

The next photograph seems a bit more obvious. My camera was on a tripod. I was about to take a picture of of us together, when he decided to move away from me. The photograph below is emblematic of the frustration I felt when he avoided me and (it seemed) didn’t want me understand him, or care if I understood him.

Photograph: Jack and Mike in Park 2

Mike Evades
Photo of Book Illustration

I ascribed meaning to the above photos, but I am sure that any story I tell about them will not reveal the truth of the matter as processed by my brother.

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