In 2014, New York City documentary photographer Erin Lefevre (AAS ’13) began a photographic exploration with her brother Liam. It was in the style of call and response: Erin would photograph Liam and he would write about the what she had captured.Its purpose was to achieve a greater shared experience. Liam is on the autism spectrum and his thoughts and feelings had not always been available to his adoring older sister.
In August 2018, Erin’s photos from “Liam’s World” were featured on the New York Times “Lens blog.” The feature, “Visualizing Life with Autism,” written by Sara Aridi, attracted responses worldwide applauding both Erin’s photographs and her approach.
The approach was one that allowed Erin to have a greater “presence” in her brother’s experiences and thoughts. “People who are marginalized are often denied a chance to speak for themselves,” says Erin. “I have a collaborative relationship with Liam and help him speak for himself.”
The project, she says, “has strengthened our bond.” And it has helped others.
“I received heartwarming messages from parents all over the world raising children on the spectrum. They said that hearing of Liam’s story helped them to better understand their own children.”
Erin now lectures about “Liam’s World,” an on-going project, and has received requests for television appearances.
It also strengthened her own place in her family. “I have family members who didn’t understand what I really did with photography who now show their support. It proves my belief that photography can empower others and better the world we live in.”
To see more of Erin’s work go to: erinlefevre.com. Follow her on Instagram @erinlefevrephoto
Photos used with permission.