Elizabeth Ruwet

“Paul in the Garden”


I am an observer of the interconnections that exist between us, and how communication, interaction and conduct may contribute to or affect our relationships or roles in society. I began focusing on my youngest brother, Paul, who was deaf till the age of two-and-a-half and was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the age of four. My desire to gain a better understanding of Paul led me to pick up my camera and start an interactive interviewing process while documenting his daily activities and behaviors. It was through this that I began to grasp other’s reactions to him while outside of the privacy of our home. I suddenly became curious of behaviors or actions that we as a society may consider to be acceptable or normal. This is turn, while continuing the exploration of Paul, compelled me to interact, interview and photograph other individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families/guardians. The work is meant to be informative, and to present a visual understanding of a different mode of processing. An artist and photographer from the DC Metropolitan area, I am currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate and graduate lecturer at George Mason University.

Selected by Julia Dolan, Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum.