"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
Not nearly as profound but, once when I was ten and playing hockey someone asked me how I learned to skate so well. I told them I didn't really learn how to skate, I just put them on when I was five, and with the other kids, started chasing a puck around the rink. The skating developed on it's own.
As someone mentioned we may over think some things.
Not sure what some of your symptoms are but while engrossed in some things like photography other things like social issues may disappear for a time. Sort of like the stutterer who can sing flawlessly. Other things on his mind.
As for making a living at it...well that's a whole other story.
I think you'll find that a lot of us are somewhere on the autistic spectrum. The neurotypicals are out drinking beer and watching baseball with their mates and shooting happy snaps on their cell phones, not sitting in the darkroom wondering whether to soup the three decade's supply of Plus-X they have stashed in their freezer in Rodinal or D76. Join us and enjoy our company!
No worries, apuggers syndrome is quite common; it's the whole reason why this forum was created.
Now, some people's work on here is more autistic than others', but we are all here to support each other, making whatever art we can, regardless of our various challenges. Some people even have digital issues, i.e. inability to use their fingers in a healthy way. We try to be tolerant while not denying our apuggers syndrome.
P.S. Please pardon any implied insensitivity in my comments here, I intend no insult to anyone.
Well said: You hit the proverbial nail right on the head. "Making art" is such an integral part of my life that it has simply become part of me and what I do. I carry a camera (an M6 with a 50mm Summilux) with me on a daily basis; I see doing so as little different than carrying my wallet or my crackberry...
As someone who has received professional and not-so-professional opinions ranging from OCD, bipolar, ADHD, Asperger's, to "caffeine-induced anxiety disorder" (my personal favorite), and even "just plain lazy" (this from my 4th grade teacher), I love the word "neurotypicals." I'm going to start using that in daily conversation, if you don't mind. Thank you!
Originally Posted by andrew.roos
+1000, well said!
Originally Posted by andrew.roos
Another phrase for neurotypicals might be "dull, boringly normal people."
Originally Posted by rthomas
I have two kids. My daughter is neurotypical. My son has autism. Both have a camera. Personally I like my son's photos better. My daughter tends to take self-portraits and has the camera slanted at odd angles. My son tends to take his time to get his photo framed just the way he wants it. They both like the photos they take. So yes, I believe you can create art. Will you be able to make a living doing it? I don't know. Quitting your day job to focus on your art is something only you will be able to decide if you want to do.
I respect your opinion and approach to dealing with AS, but I'm of the mind that, on this planet at least, it's something we have to work around and certainly not a superhuman power. We'd all be in Bill Gates' shoes if it was!
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
'Doing it tough' is the very root of my problem, yeah. I suppose it comes down to the fact that my favourite photographers at the moment and the kind of work I'm aspiring to emphasises simplicity - David Ward and Jeffrey Conley for example. Their work in particular clearly isn't the materialisation of an overly methodical mind. This kind of clarity of vision, I believe, might be impossible to achieve with 'our' type of convoluted thinking - as much as we try to absorb the work of others and assimilate, eventually our hard-wired way of solving problems seems to take over. Personally, I've found that I'm only able to make photographs concerned with simplicity when I'm unashamedly mimicking. This is almost a reflection of the strategies aspies use in social situations. When I'm doing my own thing, being myself with the camera and exploring my own style, the work that arises is somewhat chaotic. Not always, but a great deal of the time. I've certainly not reached any level of artistic maturity yet, so don't get me wrong, I accept that for any practicing artist there's a long and winding road ahead and the destination is always somewhat of a mirage! I'm convinced however, that the result of Aspergers in art is one of a different visual language and one that many serious and well-read practitioners with AS might find themselves disappointed with or confused by. The mental 'strain' that I mention then has a lot to do with attempting to bypass 'AS photographer mode' and along with everyday life and work, it all becomes a bit exhausting, to say the least.
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
I don't want to sound defeatist, I'm certainly not about to give up on my photography, but I'm convinced that without bypassing the AS on some level while making photographs, the work is in essence, outsider art. Those 'neurotypical' universalities don't seem to exist in the work, as the language of art, just like the language that we speak and express, has to be processed and learnt in a similar way for us to communicate efficiently with images. For some, making images that 'speak' in a radically different way is fine if not favourable, as you mention Poisson Du Jour, but it can be a great drawback for any wider recognition and acceptance of work.
I'd certainly be interested to read an academic study that goes into some of these things.
Perhaps the passage above confirms that!
Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac
I've found this to be true to an extent. Of course, a lot of people find landscape photography (my practice) therapeutic and I'm of that mind too... although I'm careful not to become too 'new age' about it. On the other hand, photography is inherently a pretty antisocial hobby and a magnetic one for anyone on the spectrum, as people have mentioned. Thanks for your response.
Originally Posted by blansky
This is probably the most constructive advice I could receive on the matter, so thanks ntenny, and everyone else.
Originally Posted by ntenny
Sometimes I wonder whether I'm artistic or autistic.
Then I think, "Aw, what the hell's the difference, anyway?"
I have been told that I have ADD. Don't worry, I'm comfortable with that.
Besides, I believe that ADD is an inborn trait that allows a person to pay attention to multiple stimuli at the same time.
For a photographer, that's quite a favorable trait. Isn't it?
Anyway, I take Wellbutrin when I need it. ADD is an off-label use for Wellbutrin.
I don't take it all the time. Mostly in the winter when seasonal depression is more prevalent. I usually lay off in the spring and summer.
Whether I take something for my condition is irrelevant. I still have to manage it whether I take drugs or not. The drugs just make it a little easier.
I handle my ADD with strict time management. I find that I can do almost any chore for 15 minutes without getting distracted. If I try, I can work for a half hour. So, that's my goal. To work 30 minutes without stopping. Then I get to take a break. When the break's over, I go back to work for another half hour. I keep up that schedule until the job is done.
I keep a written schedule of my day to keep my on track and I check off my chores as I finish them.
If I stay on schedule and get all my things done for the whole week, I can go downstairs and work in the darkroom on Saturday as long as I want.
(I find it a lot easier to stay on task when it's a self-directed activity.)
Just a suggestion to throw against the wall and see if something sticks...
How about you set up a schedule. Work time = X hours per day. Photography time = Y hours per day.
You have specific days and times when you have to go to your day job or take care of chores. You have specific days and times when you can work on photography. At the end of the week, if you have kept your schedule, you can reward yourself with a day of doing whatever you want.
I work in a college and I know a couple of students who have Asperger's. They seem to like the predictability of an orderly, predefined schedule.
To be in class at specific times of day; to spend so many hours in the library studying; to be at their Work Study jobs on certain days/times.
If I told them to meet me at the theater on Wednesday after lunch, you can bet they'll be standing in the doorway at 1:00 pm on the dot. If I was more than a few minutes late, they'd be unhappy with me. It seems to me that, order = comfort.
I don't know if that's how you work. I know not everybody with A.S. works the same way.
But you could give it a try. Sticking to a schedule helps me. A modified version of that idea might help you.
Your dilemma seems to me to be about context. If you put "the artistic life" in the context of "Aspergers," then you'll have an artistic life coloured by and tethered to your condition. You already know how that plays itself out in your life. As others have pointed out, there are many positives to this, not the least being a distinctly individual approach to image making. There are other contexts in your life, though, each of which could make their own contribution to your artistic output and perception of the artistic life. The contexts of work, family, physical body, spiritual beliefs, food etc. etc. can be woven into photography as legitimately as the Aspergers context and may be worth exploring. There have been countless great artists down the ages who have made choices about their particular set of contexts that may inspire you. May I encourage you to spend a bit of time in your local library reading about any that you feel produced the kind of work and led the kind of artistic life that you aspire to.
And you don't have to be a "professional" and earn your living from art. The artistic life, as I see it, is about conducting your life artfully, creatively, in whatever you do. It doesn't have to involve making images. But if that's your pleasure, then add it to whatever else you have to do for the moment to keep body and soul together. That will be the context in which your artistic life can be nurtured. Let the Aspergers take care of itself.