On the Spectrum - Life on Earth by Victor Ramos

Issue 104

Ever since I was a boy I noticed that I seemed to see and experience things differently than most people around me.  I seemed to be able to see patterns and details that other people wouldn’t or couldn’t see.  I also noticed that I had more difficulty connecting with other people.   There seemed to be rules of relationships and engagement that others knew intuitively but that were foreign and puzzling to me.

In my fifth decade I was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome.  With that, a great many of my life experiences and history made sense and fell into place like so many puzzle pieces.

Autism is known as a spectrum condition, that is, there is a set of defining characteristics such as difficulty in making eye contact, sensitivity to sound and touch, sheer brilliance, genius and creativity, lack of social awareness, and many others.  However, no one on the spectrum will possess all of the characteristics.  There is a saying in the community, that when you have met one person on the spectrum, you have met one person on the spectrum.

Temple Grandin, one of the most well known and accomplished autistic persons has said that we on the spectrum are like Martian anthropologists, we find ourselves here on Earth, and then we spend the rest of our time trying to figure out the stupid rules. (She actually did not say "stupid", that was my addition ...)

Sometimes life has been very tough on the spectrum, but I would not trade it for anything.  For me personally, the benefits and strengths have outweighed the challenges and difficulties.  I really like my differentness.  Besides, Asperger’s is not a disease that you have, like the flu or cancer.  It is part of who you are.  “Cure it”, and you will not longer be the same person, but someone else completely.  The genius and superpowers most certainly lost.

With this project, I have attempted to show what it feels like to be, to live on the spectrum, here on Earth.

It is my hope that this photo project may help parents of children on the spectrum visualize a bit more of their child’s inner life.

Victor Ramos lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
To view more of Victor's work, please visit his website.

 Empathy

Empathy

 
 Relationships

Relationships

 
 Patterns

Patterns

 
 Creativity and Connection

Creativity and Connection

 
 Eye Contact

Eye Contact

 
 Soundscape

Soundscape

 
 Touch

Touch

 
 Joy

Joy

 
 Power and Will

Power and Will

 
 Loss and Depression

Loss and Depression

 
 Anxiety

Anxiety

 
 Fashion

Fashion

 
 Love

Love

 
 Expressions

Expressions

 
 Self-Awareness

Self-Awareness