“I want to help people to understand that autism is a different way of experiencing life and that being different is OK but being different is definitely not easy”.
Understanding Stanley – Looking Through Autism is a unique and useful, beautiful and accessible photostory that communicates a powerful new visual language for autism, whilst reflecting on and challenging our ideas of communication, perception and perspective.
Over 14 years in the making, the 64 colour images – a mixture of observed portraits of her son and images that represent autistic characteristics and experiences – are supported by quotes and comments from those on the autism spectrum.
“I was always struck by the frequent comment – ‘he looks fine to me, you’d never know’. With 1 in 68 of us now living on the autism spectrum, I wanted to create something quite different in the awareness, understanding and acceptance of this hugely complex condition. Something that would resonate and actually have the ability to reach out beyond the small audience of text book readers on the subject. We all will already have autism in our lives. Whether that be within our own family, our workplace or our local community”.
Understanding Stanley is a very real piece of communication that has reached far beyond the photography community. Rosie makes the invisible visible and allows the reader to feel, not just to think and leaves a very powerful feeling of just how much the rest of us take for granted in the way we interact with the world around us.
Through a very successful Kickstarter campaign, the work was published last year as a photobook and has been endorsed by the UK’s two main autism charities (National Autistic Society and Ambitious About Autism) and by well known figures within both the autism and photography communities and beyond. The book has sold widely and is now in every continent across the world.
“I don’t believe in God sometimes, but I think he sent us here today to discover our son”. (translated)
Anon, visitor to Understanding Stanley exhibition, Bratislava, Slovakia
Understanding Stanley seeks to include and embrace and is an important piece of work for every one of us.