Saturday, January 2, 2010

Portrait: Kyle and Sabre

kyle and sabre

Here is a portrait of Kyle, my son. Kyle is 13 years old and autistic. I have photographed him over the years but it is usually difficult as Kyle does not like to make eye contact and usually does not look at one place for more than a few seconds. He is shown here with his beloved plush animal Sabre which is one of two Smilodons that he has become very fond of. He takes them most everywhere he goes. They are like comfort creatures for him.
Kyle is capable of communicating and can hold limited conversations, but only with people that he has become familiar with and feels comfortable around. This moment was special in that it is a side of Kyle that no one will ever see except those who are close to him and around him often.

33 comments:

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

How wonderful that you were able to capture that special moment with your son. Kyle is looking straight into the camera. He appears to me to be standing tall and proud - I am imagining perhaps because of the beautiful crown of fur on his head. Perhaps it makes him feel special and important.

It requires such devotion, presence, understanding and patience to raise a child that does not give the usual, easy, relational feedback like a glance or a word. I often wonder if it feels like unrequited love.

Kyle looks very trusting of the person behind the camera. Parents like you have my deepest admiration Gary. Thank you for sharing a little bit of this special young man here on your blog.

Happy New Year to you both.

DJ said...

Thank you for sharing this moment with us. I'm truly touched...he is blessed to have you for a father.

Kathleen said...

What a beautiful boy you have there! What a fantastic moment you have caught with your amazing photography. (Let's see, how many adjectives can I get into 4 lines of comment text? LOL!) Thanks for sharing this, Gary--

Gary Heller said...

Thankj you all for your time to comment.
Bonnie, your professional experience certainly has brought to you much insight into the matter with Kyle and his thinking.
You are quite right about there being a hardship sometimes in dealing with what can sometimes feel like a one sided relationship. However, over the years as Kyle matures and learns and as I and the rest of the family learn more about his ways and his emotions there are many signs and tokens of love and appreciatiopn that come from him and it has been a growing bond that keeps getting stronger.
The fact that he will only let me and a few close family members hold and look out for his Smilodon is a sign of trust and love.
If I try to play fight with him, he refuses to hit me or even tap me easy on the shoulder, while he has no reservations about going at it with his sister when she plays rogh with him. I have learned over the years that it is a sign of respect for me that he has for no one else. He shows each of us his love in different ways, but one thing is for sure. . .he is much more aware of the things around him than anyone, even myself can imagine. Thanks so much for your time and thoughtful comments

Sheila said...

Only one masterful in his craft could capture such a fleeting moment of connection (and I see love) from a young man challenged with autism.

13 is such the perfect "mile marker" in the journey of a boy to a man. It's going to start change very quickly from here on end I'm sure.

You're a wonderful photographer and an exceptional Dad.

joanne May said...

Hi Gary,
Your photo is a very sensitive image of your son Kyle and you can see in his eyes it was a special moment that you have captured in this lovely picture.
My friend works with Autistic kids and she says they are special children and they have many gifts to offer the world. She works for Peach Children's Charity.
Thank you for sharing your great work. I really enjoy visiting you.
Happy New Year to you and Kyle.
Best wishes. Jo.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

He is gorgeous Gary and that photograph is really strong. I love Bonnie's comment above. She has said what I was struggling to articulate. Happy New Year to you and your family. xx

slommler said...

Such a beautiful photograph. I can see the love and respect in his eyes for the one behind the camera. I agree with Bonnie...he is standing tall and very proud.
Thank you for sharing your feelings and your photo.
Hugs
SueAnn

Catherine said...

Such a captivating picture of a beautiful person ~ and I am thinking it takes a beautiful person behind the camera as well to capture a photo such as this.

Thank you for sharing your words and the photo of your cherished son. You are always an inspiration Gary.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Julie Magers Soulen said...

Thank you for sharing this moment of intimacy with your son. You are so extremely talented at capturing the human spirit and it clearly shines in this portrait of Kyle. There are not many photographers out there that can do what you do. Keep going.

Cheers!
Julie
Julie Magers Soulen Photography
Blog of Note

Sharon McPherson: AUTHOR / ARTIST said...

For those reasons, what an honour it is to share ... Thank you.

Gary, best wishes for 2010 to you and your family ... x

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Gary: Thanks so much for your amplification on your relationship with Kyle. You must really treasure the cues that you know signal his love, respect, trust and devotion. It speaks to the amount of tender, true presence you bring to your interactions with Kyle, that you know and have constant evidence supplied of his love for you.

There are so many ways to be in 'relationship'; there are so many ways that humans signal connection and care.... To think that the common, conditionned way we see is the only way is short-sited and naive. You have the privilege of being in the position to learn to open yourself up to other ways of seeing and receiving love.

I really appreciate that this beautiful picture, your text, your comments have made me think about the gift of autism.

Hilary said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful boy with us. That's just such a wonderful photo. You are both very lucky to have one another.

The Things We Carried said...

Gary,

I love the photo of your handsome boy. The way you wrote about his way of showing respect for you has me in tears. You know him. It is a gift to be known. To be known past boaundaries we did not even create, but can't tear down, is something at a level I can only imagine. You know your boy in this kind of a way. And that makes you a beautiful man, in the most masuline sense of the word, of course!

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Shattered said...

What a fine young man you are raising. Your photograph is just wonderful; the trust is so evident. Your son is lucky to have a dad like yourself.

willow said...

I love the way he's looking directly into the camera, with a slight hint of a smile. And on an artistic note, I love the textures of his hat, paralleled with Sabre. Touching portrait, Gary.

Marius Morar said...

Such a special moment for you and your son! Thank you for sharing such intimate and superb portrait. Really touching.
Without the story it would been an beautiful photograph, but with the story is filled with emotion and closeness.

Gary Heller said...

Thank you all for your time to share your thoughts with me on this post. I have read every comment a few times over as I was touched that you all see what I thought was special in this moment.
Bonnie, yes we learn from experiences that there are so many ways that individuals signal and show their love, respect and devotion. There are sometimes bariers and walls in the way but we learn to work around them.
Meredith (the things we carried,I could'nt agree more. . .it is a gift to be known. To be known past boundaries that we did not even create ourselves.
Thanks for that.

Danangib said...

Your post it's extremely touching. I'm sorry I'm not an English speaker and I can't express very well what I want to, but I admire you and I think your son is very happy and proud of you. I'm sure you're a wonderful father and you have an amazing family. Kyle's portrait is exellent and speak for itself. Thank you for sharing this with us all.

Gary Heller said...

Thank you, Dana. You have expressed yourself perfectly and thanks for your time to do so.

kyungmee said...

Hi! First, thanks for visitng my blog. I loved your comments and cannot agree with you more..in a way I was the same way until we started rescued the first one from the streets/parking lot..than it became a mission for some time after that. We took in total of five to be with us but we rescued many more since to find homes for them..one kitten was just found and placed about a week ago at my motherinlaw's house. I wanted to say that this ost of your son and image placed a smile in my heart! It is very touching and so much feeling in your post and image! I looked through some of your images and they are amazing! I am looking forward to following and would love to add your site to my bloglist! Oh, Happy NEw Year!

Brayton Homestead Interiors said...

phenomenal photo- such rich shades of earth tones- you can feel the fur. Kyle looks at you with such effectio.Portayed in a gentle way but full of emotion and love.
thanks for sharing...
Karen

Mark Alan Meader said...

Awesome, Gary. Taking a technically correct portrait is not that unusual, but finding the true personality and telling a story at the same time is a gift. Perfect.

Daryl said...

A handsome young man .. with an impish eye ...

TeaPhotography said...

Thanks Gary =)

My recent photos of the brothers, the oldest one too has autism. It's usually difficult to photograph him because he doesn't like to sit still. So every chance I get of him standing still for a few seconds I'm trigger happy haha

Great portrait of Kyle!! love how it's so sharp, detailed and very nice tone of colors =)

bonequinhoda bic said...

My friend, you have a great blog here.One of the best that I´ve seen so far !
GREAT PHOTOS !

myan photography/zuppaartista said...

what a gorgeous portrait gary. i am always in awe of your talent. thanks for sharing such a sweet moment.

your son is beautiful and what a wonderful father you are.
happy 2010 to you & your family.
x

rahina q.h. said...

this portrait is like a two way road: the photographer and the subject both exude sensitivity, kindness and trust towards the other. the back wall looks like it has cave paintings of wild beasts on it, in contrast to the gentleness of the child and the soft toy in his hand... beautiful composition and lighting. r.

diane said...

This photo looks a bit Indian to me, I guess it's the fur hat and the background.
Thank you for trusting us with this Gary. Autism is hard & sad. It's like trying to reach someone on an island. I have several family members with autism. But I haven't been ready to share about it. My compliments for your courage and strength.

Tonya Vollertsen said...

My husband has a hat like this and wears it every chance he gets. He keeps the ears tied on top though. Great photo!

Beholden-To-Nature (Kenna) said...

Wow... I hardly even know what to say... or where to begin.

It's so amazing how open you are to sharing the intimate points of your life-- it's not as common as you'd hope. But reading your blog, I feel like I really know the person. Of course, as this post demonstrates sooo well, it takes a lifetime of *really* paying attention and attempting to understand someone to even START to know them.

Your posts, your stories, your relationships, and your photos show a real depth of study. While many people hardly give things and other people (even some "close" to them) a 2nd glance, I feel like you pull up a chair and stare. And, as evidenced in the results, staring is NOT the bad thing it's made out to be.

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