"This channel of expression from the autistic world is a simple, brilliant idea of Emma’s. The chance to capture life in one unchanging, vibrant moment is a bridge between two worlds often further apart than planets.”​


Danny Boyle, Film Director

In our increasingly image saturated, visual world we make sense of ourselves and others through non-verbal communication. The spoken word in fact accounts for very little of how we define ourselves and relate socially with those around us. We instinctively interpret thoughts conveyed through facial expressions, body language and inflections of the voice. I produced this body of work as a way of exploring my fascination with the way in which many of those diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and high functioning autism do not necessarily have this instinct and therefore have great difficulty with social communication, particularly in a visual sense.

As a photographer this was an intriguing concept. When taking peoples’ portraits I am essentially attempting to capture an aspect of someone's personality through a still image of their face. The intimate process of taking a photographic portrait, and the representation of the subject that is produced on film, necessitates certain questions from the photographer and the eventual audience: who is this person, what are they communicating about themselves to us, what conclusions can we draw from the information on display, how can we analyse the subject? Ultimately how do we read the person in the photograph?

If the sitter does not instinctively know what their facial expressions are communicating to myself, the photographer, and ultimately the audience of the photographs being produced, then how do we define them? In addition, can photography explore authentically the way in which people with different visual interpretation systems relate to their own subjectivity?

With this series I was attempting to question whether portrait photography can indeed capture the “essence” of a person. At the same time I was inviting the audience to question their assumptions about people based on visual signs, indeed outward appearances.


- view gallery - © Emma Blau