So meet this sibling duo..who happen to have been champions of a baton twirling...random and awesome right? They are part of my new photography photo essay titled " 299" I am currently working on. Tonight I'd like to focus on Richard. We were introduced by a mutual friend. We met several times at the Thrall library in Middletown and we would discuss his personal challenges and triumphs and how Autism has impacted his life. I suppose on my own personal level this project is as close as I will come to a crystal ball. When my youngest son was diagnosed with Autism (diagnostic/billing code 299) a sea of un know swarms you like a typhoon. In my unrelenting optimism with his future I decided I needed real life education...what does Autism in your 20's look like? Now my optimism should not be confused with how fucking pissed I am that my son or any of these individuals struggle. However...this struggle has great purpose, people have purpose and photography is my way to explore this path.
So aside form being the first male competitor to be crowned in baton twirling, Richard is an artist who spends a lot of time designing characters and has grown his internet audience. He was also recently commissioned to do some drawings as well. He is actively involved in power lifting...hence the arms lol and we hope to do a photo session at the gym. Side bar he can do a split and wanted to share that! When I asked about his struggles I witnessed first hand his disconnect between what he is saying and his volume...and we were in a library so that was tricky to say the least. His passion when speaking is exciting...but I think its fair to say he is unaware that he just may be slightly yelling. What I was slightly jealous of was that he didn't seem to care at all...that my friends IS an asset.
My favorite picture is this one right above... he told me he has a difficult time with sarcasm... he said his girlfriend was helping him with that and I responded..."girlfriends usually do..." We shared a chuckle about this. His spirit gives me a lift and I appreciate the opportunity to get to know him.