Autistic children are very misunderstood by those who don’t have much contact with them. As they behave differently than other children, it’s common for them to be discriminated against or isolated.
San Francisco-based photographer Timothy Archibald started to photograph his autistic 5-year-old son Elijah as a way to deal with the diagnosis. Timothy was desperate to raise Elijah as best as he could and wanted to understand his son better. By taking portraits of Elijah, which turned into a project title “Echolilia”, Timothy became closer to his son and was able to capture the way Elijah saw the world.
Autistic children, often socially withdrawn, have such unique perspectives – and it’s obvious through Timothy’s series. The way Elijah interacts with objects offers an alternative way to communicating with the world. Timothy finds Elijah’s individuality beautiful and inspiring. In the words of a great father, Timothy says:
“I never wanted Eli to think that he was normal. I wanted him to be aware of how different he was and see that as an asset.” [Source]
“Echolilia” enabled Timothy to appreciate his autistic son’s quirks. Photographing Elijah also helped Timothy personally, as he was able to release his desire to control situations as a professional photographer and simply react to Elijah’s actions. Together, the father-son duo was able to bond over photography and create a beautiful series that gives us a different, thought-provoking view of the world.
“Echolilia” has since been turned into a book and is available for purchase through Timothy’s website.