Talented Knaresborough photographer Alex Heron is working on a unique portrait photography project that she hopes will break down barriers around autism.
The 24-year-old former King James’s pupil has Asperger’s syndrome and wants to take portrait photographs of local people who are on the autism spectrum to help them feel more comfortable with the disorder and change negative perceptions about what autism is.
Alex has had her work published in Italian Vogue and is passionate about shooting on 35mm and 120 medium format film photography.
“I didn’t tell anyone I had Asperger’s until I went to university. I was so scared to tell people because I thought they would judge me.
“On TV and film, autism is portrayed as someone rocking back or forth in a chair, or a Rain Man ‘savant’ type character, but there is a spectrum.
“I really want to show it’s a broad spectrum from all ages and walks of life. This project will help people see the ordinary face of autism”.
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Alex got into film photography after she inherited an old camera from her grandfather. She said shooting on film helps her slow down from the frantic pace of life.
“Being autistic, the world can be a busy and scary place, but film photography forces you to be within that moment and slow down. It really calms me down.”
Her ambition is to turn her autism portraits into a coffee table book or have them shown at a gallery exhibition.
Alex said she wants to reassure anyone who might be nervous about having their photo taken that the project is “just about showing them how they authentically are”.