Fine Art Photography Daily

Reathel Geary: Waiting for Griffin

This week, Lenscratch explores the work of 4 fathers interpreting life with their Autistic sons…

I had the pleasure of meeting Reathel Geary at Photolucida recently, where he shared his project, Waiting for Griffin, about his Autisic son.  The work was beautiful in person–well crafted photogravure prints infused with emotion and tenderness that had depth and power. I felt honored to share in his experience.  Selected images from the project are soon to be featured in Candela Gallery’s Unbound2 Exhibition opening July 5th and running through August 3rd.

Reathel started his artistic journey as an escape from the stress of parenting an Autistic child. He found a way to express emotions that had no other outlet and started photographing his son. He uses a camera to engage, not evade life. Reathel has been recognized as a category winner in the IPA awards and as a finalist in the Px3 awards and Critical Mass. His work has been exhibited in numerous shows at Newspace Center for Photography, Lightbox Photographic and Candella Books. In 2013 my series Waiting for Griffin will be part of the Blue Sky Drawers program.

I asked Reathel to share how creating the work has informed or helped him. This is his response:
My background is in laboratory science, a place that seems far removed from my creative endeavors these days. One lesson though I cherish from my previous life was the belief that work was not finished until it was shared. This is true not only for the academic world of science but also of art. Though we create for ourselves I think it is critical to share the work with others. This not only enriches their lives but informs us about our work in ways that can be surprising. 

At photolucida a number of people commented that the portraits of Griffin were very close and intimate. After hearing this again and again it dawned on me that my final edit was reflecting my desire to be close to my son, something that is very challenging with an autistic child. It is amazing that I could live with and edit these images for a year and in just one day have such a foundational idea exposed through the process of sharing. This was one of the highlights of my photolucida experience.
Waiting for Griffin

Autism is a separation of experience, where one is unable to participate fully in our shared reality. My son Griffin is autistic. Much of our experience is fraught with difficulty punctuated by moments of intense emotion. In these photographs I share what I see as a father of a little boy struggling with autism. These photographs are sometimes beautiful, often difficult and always true. Not only to the moment but also to my hopes and fears for the future. Each photograph is printed as a photogravure, a process that requires a high degree of physical manipulation. Each time I wipe the plate to remove the excess ink I do so with a father’s hand. As I work the plate my son is revealed to me anew, beautiful and frightening in all his future possibilities. I see him for who he truly could be and I find myself waiting for Griffin.

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