Saturday, April 12, 2008

Monday thru Friday

















With this project I'm doing on my son, with the pictures and the scans, I like to keep alot of the details to myself. Is he autistic, does he have asperger's or something...or is he nothing? What is up? Are these pictures really of him...is this what he is like, or is he an actor in your own personal fantasy or something? Is this project about him or you? I never really answer these things, but probably because I don't really have it all figured out. m

A couple of pictures came out of the last week that were more cause and effect...they kind of seemed to come out of the week and what has been going on. I thought it would be interesting to write it down:

Upon starting the week I realized we were begining this program in which my son takes an enormous quantity of herbal supplements each morning in an attempt to help him with his situation and avoid going on hardcore pharmaceutical medication that seems to freak all of us out. Images of pills have surfaced in this project previously, but they always seemed to play a different role in the series...they were more about the need to control things in my own life or other adult's lives. They've appeared in this project in various forms since I started it, often standing for different things.

So, we have one vitamin c, one multi vitamin, 2 fish oil capsules, one detox remedy, one digestion aid, two stimulant oriented supplements called "Learner's Edge" that is supposed to help him stay focused at school. It's a struggle to get a kid to take the stuff, try to hide it in food, try to get a kid to swallow a capsule...oh, its late and we still need to brush teeth and get dressed and make sure we eat breakfast, but there are 2 more capsules to take. Let's try to open them up and mix them in with the food, how about trying that?

By Friday there is a problem. Eli is hyper and manic at school and the teacher is wondering what is going on and everything seems to have gone backwards. He is being sent out of the classroom multiple times a day and taking all of the teacher's energy and resources to keep him from disrupting the whole scene. Could it be the new pills? I dunno... with these supplements you just can't call a doctor to find out what is up, there is no doctor monitoring it all...we just gotta pull the plug. Friday night he seems to have landed and is grounded, all of the stuff has burned out of his system, just him and a stick sitting in the backyard at peace.

Earlier that week I lined up all the pills on my scanner. They looked interesting, but there were just too many. Adult pills at a child's dose, broken in half, kids pills with smiley faces on them, happy animal shapes. I found some curious robotic creatures around the house that seemed to be more nefarious looking than the smiling hippo on the pill, scanned them and changed their size until they were pill size. Can you put one in your mouth? Can you digest it? I liked that idea...and eventually edited it down and put together the piece below. I kind of liked it, I thought it looked like a mathematical equation. I sent it to a friend who said she felt it looked like egyptian hieroglyphics written in domestic code. I can accept that.

16 comments:

Ms Frapcious said...

Since I started reading your blog, I've always liked the extra non-verbal quality of your photos. Even the ones with words in them have an interesting detachment from language. When i look at some photos a sentence or two tends to immediately form in my mind, but not with your work. There seems to be an extra step that wants to be made before the visual to language connection is understood. I guess that's where the interactive part comes in. I think it's very cool.

Alexandre said...

Tim,
This is a very difficult and poignant post. I have mentioned this before, I see my son Griffin in your photos and scans, and in essence a connection. Call me a cynic, and I surely am when it comes to medicine, but any kind of treatment should be just that, which means that a diagnosis needs to be made first. I realize that the fear of confronting the answer is two folds, first physicians and psychologists are two eager to initiate medicinal therapy and second, it is difficult to live with the answer. But at least, with some opinion, you and your family will know what you are facing. Chances are that you son is an eccentric little guy who is loved by a great father and has a bright future ahead of him.

Darrell Eager said...

Maybe it's not a mathematical equation but a message to you.

RexFlex said...

the intersection we have come to is quite remarkable. Just last week I started substituting in our child's county school system. I teach at a local university 2 days a week which is very casual and I control everything from content to lesson plans. The county is very regimented with never a shortage of procedures and operational manuals. I'm not ready to take the helm of a single class yet so to break into the system to figure out all the nuances of procedure, so not to choke and fail as a viable replacement, I chose special Ed assistant, so that I get to deal with just one student per day. I cranked out 3 straight days, there is a massive shortage of teachers if you all didn't know that at least for subs, especially this time of year. I had done a couple of projects before with special needs adults, one while in Photo School and one with my wife right before we got married. It was always rewarding and I have to say working with children with special needs can be both exhausting and beyond rewarding. Being a parent myself it adds another layer of compassion to the experience I don't think people who haven't had a child of their own can appreciate. I can't speak for you as a parent but I can speak to you as a photographer and honestly say you are fortunate to have found another language with your photography to scrape at the surface and help you add value to your situation. thanks for enriching my day. I hope I can do the same for you. Sincerely, Rex

Gerrit said...

Dear Tim,

I've been watching your blog with interest, I have a now 17yr old son with ADHD.

Some of your images remind me of images I made during the first 14 yrs, especially of boy related objects.

A lot of my son's toys had emotional echoes for me.

So did his situation. We live in Australia and here the primary school system is dominated by female teachers who (gross generalisation and no it's not sexist, just factual) prefer an organised, fine motor co operative studnet. It's less work.They can deal with a group and not seventeen individuals.

The world has tightened so much that being a bit different can bring a lot of negative attention.

When I was a kid there was a lot more space and "he will grow out of it" was ok - not so now.

Over the years i have felt that many visual people have sons with similar situations (i don't know what your situation really is, only my own).

it can take time but it can all work out.

It can be the difference between the farmer(or accountant) and the hunter gatherer (or photographer)

best luck

G

Stan B. said...

Unfortunately, nobody can really predict what effect all these supplements or pharmaceuticals can ultimately have on children. And as a Spec Ed teacher of 17 yrs, I know that some of my fellow professionals can be prone to make haste with recommending the latter. You're to be commended for considering going there only as the last resort. When there are no ready cures or answers, all that loving parents (as yourselves) can do is to keep trying (and keep observing as carefully as possible) until the best alternative or combination of meds and/or behavior programs is found...

Timothy Archibald said...

Gerrit and Rex- Thanks so much for sending me your photographs, the parallels in the works are super inspiring. Gerrit- your work looks like what I'm aspiring towards, no question.
Ms Frap- interesting observation there by you. A p.e. once said he thought my pics were like a story that had the ending cut out of it, i always liked that, though you said it better.
Alex- no worries, we got md's on board. Darrell- you might be right!
Stan, thanks for chiming in.

But...this was really supposed to be a post about tapping into what is in front of you in the day to day, trying to put it thru a filter, and forcing a photograph to come out, like meat in a meatgrinder. Don't know if the shot in this case was successful, but it was a chance to talk about the process.

Ian Aleksander Adams said...

I wonder...


I'm probably one of the few people who read this blog who IS/WAS a medicated child. Ever since I was a little kid I was always on some sort of pill, trying a new one, trying to get better results, trying different supplements. I never was even quite sure what was supposed to be wrong with me.

Now, I'm convinced I was fine, just different. I finally moved out when I was 16, got tested on my own, they found no learning disabilities, high IQ, and basically determined I was just not challenged at all in school and they weren't teaching to my abilities and interests. Not saying this is the case with your kid (I don't know the situation at all) but I was able to get all As, and same in college for the past four years, with no medication whatsoever. Which is nice. Maybe it did it's thing back when I was a kid and I just don't need it now.... but I still get the feeling that kids these days are over medicated....

I'm glad you're observing carefully. I know that mother would base her assumptions on one sentence write ups about how I was doing "Ian is more calm today." But drugged didn't equal calm to me... my grades went down, I was just easier to control.. I cared less about school, ate less, slept less. Finally when I was 15 or something I didn't sleep for two weeks. It got bad.

Your images are amazing and I'm sure your son is amazing too.. I hope that it will be easy to find the things he is interested in, and since you're an artist you probably know how it is to work at something that isn't as directly understandable as the school system sometimes wishes it is.

I remember hearing a lecture (I think it was from that TED site) where someone mentioned a famous choreographer who got in trouble all the time for fidgeting and being "weird" in class. She was taken to a shrink who told the parent that there was nothing wrong with her, she was just a dancer. Nowadays, the speaker said, she would have been prescribed medication. Instead she was sent to dance school and ended up rich, famous, and happy.

Timothy Archibald said...

Ian-

Oh, I totally hear where you are coming from and your story is inspiring. I don't doubt he will do well in the world at large, but kids gotta get thru basic things like kindergarten without getting kicked out, so we gotta deal with the day to day.

I appreciate all of this...but back to photography please!

TA

Ms Frapcious said...

I was just wondering? do you ever hand the camera over to your son? maybe pair an image from the outside with one from the inside?

alexandre said...

Yeah ms Frapcious, I tried that and all I got was 100 shots of "Bob l'eponge", I guess my son learned his lessons from Martin Schoeller who takes no less than 200 shots for his Big Head work, if only he had Kinos...

Ms Frapcious said...

alex-

I've never actually watched Sponge Bob-I'm so out of the loop.

A series of TV pictures isn't such a bad idea; adds a heck of a punch to the the idea of limited memory, or actually being able to separate consecutive images in your brain without stop action.

ok-I'm wishing I had a digital slr right now, and a digital video camera, and a sweet studio set-up...ok, and an ipod.
stop it you guys.

Anonymous said...

Gostei desta produção com essa variadas pílulas...e um brinquedo no meio?
Tomei pílulas ano passado durante muito tempo e o que vejo nesta photo é um sentimento de "tanto faz", não importa se a pípula é rosinha, ela interfere na vida daquela pessoa e sua interferência não é rosa.

translating...

I liked this production with that many pills ... and a toy in the middle?
I took pills last year for a long time and I see this photo is a sense of "both makes" no matter whether the pípula is little pinck, it interferes in the life of that person and their interference is not pink.

Ana Claudia

Ana Werneck said...

Consegui entrar com meu endereço.
Entre no meu blogger e deixe comentários.

W.L.B. said...

I love the idea from Ms. F (not gonna attempt to spell it! LOL)about having your son take some photos. It would add an entirely different dimension to your project, as well as share your passion for photography with your son.

As for the scan of meds, I think this image would make the perfect cover photo should your project end up as a book someday. Like your project, this scan shows both a uniformity (they're all lined up and evenly spaced apart) and a disjointedness at the same time. (Perhaps, that's the wrong word...) But that is the nature of your son.

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