No selfies the social world of autistic male adults as depicted in their everyday photographic practices

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Despite the wide range and accessibility of digital image- making technologies, little attention has been paid to autistic people’s everyday photography. The aim of this article is to address this knowledge gap and investigate the ways in which photography enabled four autistic male adults to visually express their social world. Drawing on the writings of Merleau-Ponty and adopting an anthropological perspective to understand autism as a way of being, this article is positioned within the context of phenomenology and provides a more nuanced picture of who creates photographs, where, why, how often and for whom. Using a critical approach rooted in an understanding of everyday life that recognises the value of the banal, repetitive and unnoticed, and the importance of quotidian events, the photography central to this article is characterised by social practices. With a focus on the ‘doing of photography’, key findings of this qualitative, interdisciplinary study revealed that the four autistic participants had a distinct aesthetic vision and used their sensory perception to communicate their ways of seeing and being through the camera. As a social practice, photography mediated participants’ relationships to objects, other people and the social world, in tha the mere gazing at the camera screen offered a domain of social interaction with the subjects that participants photographed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
JournalVisual Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2021


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