Victor Ramos: On The Spectrum – Life On Earth
I have learned by looking at thousands of portfolios over the years that photographers are using the camera to create another language–a language that sometimes allows them to mine personal and difficult spaces, spaces where something visual is more significant than something spoken. Victor Ramos has created a powerful and personal project about what it feels like to be on the spectrum, dealing with Asperger Syndrome–a diagnosis that he didn’t receive until mid life. His conceptual response to his diagnosis allows the viewer a window into his world.
Victor Ramos was born in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by his father, he started making images from about when he was 8 years old. Victor was for the most part self taught and mastered black and white and color developing and printing. His professional background is in computer science and so it was a natural progression to digital photography from analog as the discipline and industry matured.
Victor has had several one person exhibits as well as several group exhibits with fine art, portraiture, architecture and street photography themes. Some of his work has sold through the Duncan Miller Gallery Daily Photograph site. He has also been published and featured in Digital Photo Pro, PC Photo Magazine, aPhotoBlog and Lenscratch blogs.
Victor is a member of the Los Angeles Center of Photography where he has studied with Aline Smithson, Julia Dean, Ibaronex Parello, Peter Bennett, Matt Stuart and many other world class photographers. Victor lives and works in Los Angeles, California when he is not on a walk-about in some far away locale.
On The Spectrum – Life On Earth
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 couldn’t or wouldn’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 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, sheer brilliance and genius, lack of social awareness, and many others. However, not everyone on the spectrum will display 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 are placed 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, strengths and experiences have outweighed the challenges and difficulties. Besides, autism 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 yourself, but somebody else completely.
With this project, I have tried 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.
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