Photography is language: a way to communicate, connect and bind. Words are used when attempting to express moments of pure simplicity. Words can accurately reveal special nuances that we experience with our eyes and emotions in the past. Opposed to the writer, the photographer is present in the moment with the tools they use to capture the essence and energy of the physical. There is a direct relationship between the subject and the artist, unlike many other contemporary art forms. Timothy Archibald's collaboration with his son, Eli, is an example of how photography can serve as an avenue to understanding between the subject and artist. He and his son, who is autistic, began shooting scenes in their home . Archibald wasn't only recounting or documenting the estranged moments in his son's experiences; they were embarking on a journey together in order to foster connections. This is a project which Archibald reminisces “literally changed photography for me.”
In some images Eli lays sprawled out on a lawn, staring into the sky above. The work as a whole often evokes an air of the unsaid and creates a sense of distance - and with it an urge to inquire what the subject is thinking. In another photograph from the book titled ECHOLILIA: Sometimes I wonder, Eli is naked, his body scrunched inside a plastic tote. There work also documents drawings and notes that Eli had written, artifacts of his unique thought process.
Timothy photographed Eli for 3 years, from age 5 to 8. Once they felt it was completed, they left it at that. Timothy and Eli felt that their mission was accomplished once there was nothing left to discover. They built the necessary bridges that strengthened their relationship.
Currently Archibald is working on a project focused on family and how a family is affected by autism.