"Stories of Autism" uses portraiture and stories to raise awareness for people on the autism spectrum. Charlie Cotungo started the project because his son is on the autism spectrum and he wanted to do something to help out both him and the broader autism community.
During, April Autism Awareness Month, he has organized an event which is enabling photographers and people on the autism spectrum to get together and create portraits to raise autism awareness. So far Charlie has over 60 Portraits from different cities all across North America.
I was paired with a 12 year old boy named Kieran. His mother told me all about him and I was really excited to meet him in person and take his portrait. He sounded so interesting and fun. She said he was interested in Karate, traveling and other "boy" stuff like books with "potty humor" - of course!
We met in Fort Langley and took a walk Downtown with camera in hand. I soon found out that Kieran is the coolest kid I have ever met! Right away he made an incredible impression on me.
Never have a met a more enthusiastic, thoughtful and optimistic child before. Cynthia should really give herself a pat on the back for raising such a compassionate child.
Not having a lot of experience with Autistic children/adults I was a little nervous before meeting him. I didn’t want to say or do the wrong thing. I wanted him to like me and for the photos to be a success!
Turns out I didnt have anything to worry about. Unlike lots of 12 year old boys, Kieran was a "ham" (as described by mom).. always grinning ear to ear. He was probably the most considerate subject I have ever photographed. He was very conscious of the camera - smiling the entire time we shot!
I feel lucky to have met Kieran and his mother. He is such a unique individual and a joy to be around - funny too! Thank you Charlie, Kieran and Cynthia for the opportunity to participate in such a great project and the opportunity to meet some really great people!
Check out the Website for "Stories of Autism" or the Facebook Page