Beth Jennings – The Journey Captured » I capture the journey of people in their personal and professional lives. I teach amateur photographers how to capture their life in beautiful photos. Photography, Melbourne Photographer, Photography Workshops, dSLR Camera Workshops, Creative Camera Course, Photo Course Melbourne, Camera Class Melbourne

Living with Autism

Rachel and Peter won the bid for my donation of a 2010 Family Story photo session at the recent ACT Autism Asperger Gala Dinner fundraiser.  They have two children, Olivia, aged 14, and Max, who has Autism, aged 11.

There are a few distinctive things about Autism and I wondered how I would handle them during the photo session.  There is a notable lack of social connection.  Eye contact is tricky. Repetition of simple ideas and concepts is very common.  Awareness and consideration to others is challenging. So, given that my photography focuses on connection, interaction and spirit, I wondered what sorts of things I would see and how that would translate into photographs.  I have to say, I did feel some trepidation going in, but then at the same time, my mission was to capture this family experience authentically, Autism and all.

I have to give a hats off to the parents and siblings of children with Autism. Despite the day to day challenge of living with it, Rachel, Peter and Olivia (and Rugby and Major the dogs) all provide the best care and support possible to Max. They look tired, maybe a bit more than normal. Yes, Max’s needs come first. But wow, what an amazing family…as Rachel says, you just do it.  That’s the card you were dealt and you handle it the best you can, with the best advice you can access at the time.

Max is a lucky chappy.  And really fun to photograph! What a beautiful and touching family story.  Thank you Peter, Rachel, Olivia and Max, for inviting me into your very special world.


Holding Max’s hand as he reads is helpful for his learning.

Autism Society of America
Autism Aspergers ACT

Olivia turned 14 recently and we were going through her photos.

ACT Aspergers

Olivia is very caring (and Rachel is proud of that).

National Autistic Society

Max is a wriggle-pot but loves a good cuddle.

Australia Autism

Group hug!

Children with Autism

My favourite from the day.
In an instant Olivia had scooped Max up with her on the trampoline.
Jumping on the trampoline is something they love to do together.

Child with Autism

Happy Rachel!

Asperger Syndrome

A quiet moment inside, I love the gentle touch and the peeping Tom in the background.

Portrait Photographer ACT

Busy, busy everybody talks at once!
Max runs his hand along the wire spiral of the photo album.

Canberra Family Photography

Not Rachel’s favourite here – but I’ve included them as I learned something about Autism.
Eye contact is hard for Max, so to counter it she looked directly at him.
He flicked Rachel’s hair to cover her eyes, something of course she detests.
Patient mamma she is, she will persist.

Photography 2010 of Family Story
Photography of Teenage Family Canberra

Girl talk over cupcakes!

Photographer in Canberra
ACT Professional Photographer

So beautiful Peter!

Photography of People
Fine Art Portrait Blog
Award winning portrait photographer Australia
Australian family photography

Some helpful links for Autism:

Autism Spectrum Australia
The National Autistic Society (UK)
Autism Society of America


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Thanks for reading, it means a lot that you’ve stopped by. Feel free to drop in a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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Vera Rowell - January 24, 2011 - 9:34 am

The photos are amazing and you story lines are poignant.
Thanks for letting us share in them.

Beth Jennings - January 24, 2011 - 11:39 am

Hello Vera, thank you so much for leaving your thoughts, it is lovely to receive this from you. Have a great day! xx

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