Exhibit features photos taken by autistic children

May 21, 2010 10:42:40 AM PDT
A special photo exhibit featuring art created by autistic children is on display in Hinsdale.

The exhibit, Kids with Cameras, had the children capture the world the way they see it.

Jeff Ebert, a suburban photographer and father of a son with autism, started a photography program for children with special needs in Hinsdale. He developed and framed each child's photograph to display and sell at the third annual art show in his studio.

"It's inspired them to be able to see things differently," said Ebert.

The project provided 19 special needs children ages 3 to 15 years old with digital cameras for two days. The children were encouraged to take pictures of people and things that inspired them.

"The composition is really good, and it's just amazing, especially with the landscape, what they have come up with," said Ebert.

Parent Russell Roads says his autistic daughter Maggie benefited from the project.

"It made her visualize everything in a little bit different way," said Russell Roads. "She would stop, pause, and really select what she was going to take a picture of."

Aimee Frank says her son enjoyed taking pictures.

"It really opened up a world for him," said Frank. "He doesn't usually have an opportunity to participate in different activities that other children get to do."

The photographer, father of two adopted children, one from Russia and the other from Ethiopia, says he wants to put a positive light on autism, because he believes autism is a gift.

All proceeds from the sales of the photography will benefit Charlie's Gift, a non-profit organization that provides support for families facing autism and related disorders.

In addition to the Ebert's work with children, he has also devoted time to creating his own artwork that features children with autism, including his five-year-old son.

He says he chose brightly lit backgrounds for that artwork in order to convey a sense of happiness.


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