Indaia Whitcombe: Jack's Story, 2011-2012
Introduction by Indaia Whitcombe
Autism can isolate people into a world of their own, where the effort to communicate and relate to others is an on-going struggle. An individual with autism is often unable to attribute mental states to the self and others. For ten-year-old Jack O’Halleran, this description may at first seem entirely accurate, and then with time, all together obsolete. The framing of autism is often focused on a lack of ability, rather than on a nuanced intelligence at play. As each child – in some way – lives in their own imaginative world, Jack’s gift is his ability to take people of any age into his world. Jack beckons those around him to notice things that in a passing moment they might not otherwise see, ironically things that Jack, himself may not actually be able to see. Jack’s way of engaging with others might not be typical, but the connections he makes are profound. With autism as a growing phenomenon in today’s society, Jack’s story asks us to reexamine how we view the world, how we interact with our surroundings, and how we connect with one another.
Lewis Hine Documentary Fellow 2011-2012
Indaia Whitcombe, a graduate in sociocultural anthropology from Bennington College in Vermont, brings to the Hine fellowship a strong commitment to and impressive experience with humanitarian causes.