Seeing and communicating: photography and young male adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Digital photography is deeply embedded in people’s daily lives, as camera phones and digital compact cameras are widely used in social and cultural settings. People have an increased agency and choice over what they want to photograph, where and when; many people carry their smartphones everywhere and share their images instantly via social media platforms. Within the recent scholarship on everyday photography, however, little attention has been paid to the photographic practices of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), one of many marginalized groups whose photography has not been explored. This article addresses this shortfall. Drawing on a qualitative, image-based investigation, the author turns to phenomenology to examine four young male ASD adults’ unique ways of seeing and being-in-the-world as expressed through the use of their camera. Their involvement indicates that ASD people have the potential to have a powerful voice in how society conceives of what autism is and what it means to live with ASD. A case study discussion of key research findings presents examples of the pictures taken in the sphere of participants’ everyday lives, revealing that the camera acts as an extension of experience and perception, a mediator and filter. Photography enables the four male ASD individuals’ being-in-the-world and exposes the social life of this marginalized group. The article offers a significant contribution to the field of visual communication and sensory experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-606
Number of pages26
JournalVisual Communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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