To document the often bizarre and incomprehensible world of his son, photographer Timothy Archibald has been photographing his autistic son Elijah from age 5. It started with taking photos of the repetitive behaviors or rituals that Elijah exhibited. Then it turned into something more:
“When Archibald showed him a photo of one of his behaviors, Elijah suggested doing it in another way or another place. Both father and son were very interested in the process through which they could get a good photo. ‘We had this mutual sense of discovery,’ Archibald says.”
Elijah has in time become a more active participant, helping to brainstorm and set up the photoshoots. Mr. Archibald named the project Echolilia. These photograph sessions sound transformative for them, because through them
“…father and son create their own visual language, thanks to which they can communicate with each other even when there are no words they both can understand. In fact, Elijah receives positive attention for his rituals, can share something with his dad, and has even started to take his own photos.”
Because communication matters. Because making a connection with other people matters.