Award-winning Chesterfield photographer with autism says condition allows him to ‘see the world differently’

A Chesterfield photographer living with autism says the condition has blessed him with a unique perspective that allows his work to soar- and should ‘never stop’ others from pursuing their passion.

Thursday, 9th May 2019, 1:45 pm
Photographer Bryn Graves was diagnosed with autism at 47.

Bryn Graves was diagnosed with autism in 2017, aged 47, after a ‘lifelong struggle’ with relationships, social interaction and sensory processing.

He says he has ‘made peace’ with his diagnosis as it means he can ‘see the world differently’ through patterns, light, shade, repetition and order.

Autism certainly hasn’t hindered Bryn’s ambition.

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He said: “I’m 49 now ad run my own business photographing portrait, weddings and families- capturing unfolding events in a documentary style of photography. I also work full-time as a test engineer.

“I feel very fortunate that I’ve held continuous employment for more than 30 years. Only 16 per cent of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32 per cent are in some kind of paid work, according to the National Austistic Society.

“The diagnosis has helped make sense of why I experience the world like I do, and has proved to be a valuable tool. I’ve always been fascinated with details in every day things, which is well suited to photography. The nuances of expressions, mood and interaction are all the tiny details that are often overlooked in every day conversation.

“In a general sense I struggle with interaction, and the camera enables me to get out there and be myself around people.”

Some of Bryn's work.

Over the last few years Bryn has held portrait work exhibitions in Chesterfield Library and and has had work published and curated online and in magazines.

In 2014, he made the shortlist in the National Photography Competition EEF Make It Britain and travelled to Westminster Palace for the awards ceremony.

Bryn added: “Autism is classed as a disability and for some it really is.

“For me as an autistic adult with a late diagnosis, it is an opportunity after a lifetime of struggling with some aspects of my life and not knowing why.

“It’s an opportunity to be the best version of myself I can be, and a camera helps so much with that.”