Minnesota-based mom of two and photographer Kate Miller-Wilson emotionally explores the ins and outs of living with autism. With her 10-year-old son Eian as her muse, she captures captivating portraits that reveal the day-to-day reality that life on the spectrum entails.
Rendered either in soft color or in stark black and white, Miller-Wilson's photographs offer a dreamy yet raw look at her son's condition. In her autism photo series, she documents the poetic and unique way that Eian, a “beautiful, hilarious, challenging, and charming person,” experiences the world. Whether he's gazing out a glowing window, exploring the outdoors, or sitting with his eyes closed, there is a quiet calmness to his demeanor and a striking stillness in the photos.
Some of the photographs are candid, while many others—particularly those that feature Eian on the other side of some sort of barrier—are pre-planned. In addition to the interesting aesthetic that the obstructing ice, glass, and plants provide, Miller-Wilson strategically stages these photos for another reason. “Interestingly, it’s easier for him to make eye contact with my camera in shots like that,” she told The Huffington Post.
The photographer knows that, as with any condition, everyone views, faces, and experiences autism differently. She hopes, however, that her photos inspire people to consider the emotions and energy that autism involves. “There’s a saying in the autism community: ‘If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,’” she said. “In the case of other parents and kids on the spectrum, each person will experience my images in his or her own way. No matter how that is, I hope my work resonates as genuine and just emotionally accessible.”