One of our projects for my photography advertising class at college is to research and make a billboard advert of one of the following categories: Household object, cosmetic object or a campaign. We have to include a person in the images - not as a portrait but to help enhance the product/message being put across.
Most of the class is doing cosmetic or campaigns on drug/alcohol use.
I’ve chosen to do a positive campaign on autism (due to my own autism): I’m creating mine to visual imply the phrase ‘This person has autism…but you wouldn’t know that by looking at them’ with the image showing the person doing something incredibly normal…like being in a coffee shop, taking their kids to the park, being on a bus.
I want to show everyone how wrong the stereotypes are, in regards to how neurotypicals believe us to look, behave or act; the images that people have of autistics is that they’re young children, usually having ‘tantrums’, rocking back and forth, being non verbal, etc.
I hope it will show that we are just like everyone else; we go to school, we have friends and some of us appear completely ‘normal’ but just need a little support sometimes. Autistic kids grow into autistic adults - their ‘functioning’ levels might improve from low to high, or somewhere in the middle, but not because they ‘grow out of it’ or are cured….but because we gradually learn how to act ‘acceptable’.
It is a very personal project, as I’ve said, because it is about myself as well.
I nearly started crying today while typing up some annotation over this image below by Timothy Archibald, which I encluded in my work book as possible inspiration.
I was writing about how it seems to be directed towards sensory in autism (the feel of the balloon, the colour. Especially the grounding pressure; by having it pressed to his forehead, it helps to block overwhelming things out). I added my thoughts after my notes, in regards to my own sensory issues.
I also wrote under that:
“I love this image, partly due to how soft it looks and the vividness of the balloon: but mostly because it hints at how some of us have sensory issues – light being too bright, sounds too sharp, fabric makes us feel sick. This one is about the feeling of the pressure of the balloon against his head and the feel of the texture. We like having something to press or hold to ground ourselves in some situations.
The image just gives me a warm fluttering feeling of seeing something I understand very, very personally.And everyone who will look at it will now understand too.”
I really hope my lecturers, who will see it, and mark it, appreciate how hard this all hits home for me and the effort I’m putting in to simply get the word ‘pass’ beside that assignment.