When we started Studio G Photography, it was never with the intention of specialising in working with children with additional needs. It was not something that had ever occurred to us. But little by little I discovered I was quite good at photographing what we like to call ‘children less ordinary’. I was able, with patience and perseverance, to get beautiful images of children that parents believed were impossible to photograph. I thought I just had a natural affinity with these children, particularly the autistic ones.
Then, my own beautiful but somewhat troubled girl was diagnosed. And the penny dropped. I had been nurturing my own autistic child for years. Of course these children made sense to me. Since then, we have actively sought out opportunities to photograph children with additional needs. I see it as a wonderful challenge, and the satisfaction in seeing the joy on a parent’s face when I show them beautiful photographs of their child, is second to none.
I really enjoy working with autistic children, both at Studio G and in my role as a director of Hack Oldham. Once you take time and make the effort to get to know them they have a refreshingly honest, direct and fascinating view of the world. Of course, every child is different, but my girl cannot be anything other than honest. She sees solutions to problems that a neurotypical mind might never think of, and she is baffled by the concept of bigotry. To her, everyone is absolutely equal, and to treat anyone otherwise makes no sense to her. She will never understand racism or homophobia and to me, that makes her an exceptional person. Autistics have many many problems to face, but they have many things to teach us.
Today, Autistic Pride Day, we launch a new flyer promoting our packages tailored to the very individual needs of these very special children. These flyers will be available from Hack Oldham, from POINT (Parents of Oldham in Touch) and from any organisations who would like a supply of them.
Whilst we do have experience of working with children with additional needs, we know that no two children are the same, so our starting point is to get to understand your child’s specific needs and issues. As a parent or carer, you know best how they are likely to react to being photographed, and what might help. So we start with having a chat with you, and perhaps your child, before we even think about getting a camera out.
We think time is the key to success. Most photographers work to a strict timetable, but we understand that you might not be able to arrive when you planned, because the unexpected happens. We allow plenty of time for the booking, to make sure your child has time to get used to us, and our studio, and our kit. We need to build up rapport and trust, and it can be an hour before we actually take any photographs. Sometimes we don’t take any and arrange another session. We’ll take as much time as we need to get the right results.
We’re based in the centre of Oldham, with a loading bay right outside and parking nearby. We’re also close to bus and tram stops. Inside, our office and studio space are fully accessible.