Exactly a month ago, I wrote about Bruce Hall, an exceptionally talented legally blind photographer who is very well known for underwater photography and various other photography related work. His work has been published in various textbooks and magazines, and recently, The Library of Congress bought some of his work for its permanent collection.
Over the last decade or so, Bruce and his wife Valerie, who holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and has been involved in education for over 20 years, have been busy documenting the lives of their two autistic sons through photographs (Bruce) and text chronicles (Valerie). While doing so, they have made it evident that they are both very involved in their sons’ lives. Bruce’s photos of the boys are up close and personal, capturing some great emotions at the right moments – anger, happiness, excitement, or just simple observation of their surroundings. Bruce’s photos are accompanied by Valerie’s narratives which are very candid and very well explained. She does an extremely good job of detailing the emotions of her boys, their surroundings and the circumstances under which the photos were taken in a very simple yet clear-cut manner, thus adding more clarity to the photos and helping the readers understand not just what the photos are about, but also what’s going on in the boys’ minds, and why they chose to do what they did in the photos.
The combination of Bruce’s personal photography and Valerie’s exceptional writing exposes us to a
great experience and enables us to understand different shades of autism. It makes us aware of the challenges that autism brings along with it. Not that we didn’t know that already, but getting to see those challenges as well as various other experiences through Bruce and Valerie’s eyes makes us sit up and take notice. It makes us want to change our perspectives about people with disabilities in general, and be more compassionate, understanding, patient, and kind to people who may not be able to express themselves through words. It gives us a glimpse into how differently they perceive the world – the same world we all are a part of.
“Immersed: Our Experience with Autism” is the work of Bruce and Valerie Hall – a 265 pages book that consists of over 170 full color photos and over 100 written pieces. Now that the book is ready for printing, Bruce and Valerie are seeking everyone’s help to get funds for mass production so they could bring this book to reality and share it with everyone. At the time of writing this blog post, the Kickstarter campaign has 14 more days to go. They have already raised $6,525 and are short of just over $10,000 to meet their goal of $17,000.
This book is a great resource for parents with autistic children or anyone who has an autistic child in their family. It can be a great resource for special education students and teacher, and basically for anyone who wants to understand what it’s like to live with/ raise kids with autism. This can be a great resource in the local school or public library too.