'keelan

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Washed Away by the Waves

The ocean has its silent caves,
Deep, quiet and alone;
Though there be fury on the waves,
Beneath them there is none.

These lines by Nathaniel Hawthorne say something very similar to what Warren Keelan photographs depict. Keelan is an Australian seascape and ocean photographer who captures his perception of the ocean through his lens. Keelan has always been fascinated by nature; the ocean and its ever changing form, its unpredictable nature.

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This particular Autism Drawing is one I have been developing for a while. I started drawing it a few months ago and kept redesigning it for ages, but now Im finally happy with it. 

“NOT A TRAGEDY”

This drawing is a statement against the, unfortunately common, ableist narrative that Autism is some kind of terrible tragedy and that Autistic people should be pitied. 

The drawing is of an Autistic girl who is cheerfully stimming and wearing a red jumper with the Neurodiversity Symbol on it, indicating support for “Autism Acceptance” (and rejecting the ‘Autism Awareness’ Campaign). She is stimming by listening to music, pressure stimming with the weight of the headphones and flapping her hands. Beneath her is a coloured in Neurodiversity Symbol with the words “Not A Tragedy” written inside in capital letters. 

Autism is NOT a tragedy and its LONG overdue for neurotypical people to start understanding that. 

A little autistic positivity drawing I did today. I dont usually do mixed-media, especially with colours, so I’m quite pleased with how this turned out. 

[Image Description: 

A pencil drawing of an autistic person (myself) sitting peacefully with crossed legs, wearing loose, comfortable clothes and wrapped in a blanket. 

The person is stimming in a number of ways: rocking, pressure stimming with the blanket and headphones, listening to music through the headphones, fiddling with a wooden stim toy, with a cuddly toy lizard on his lap. 

The person is avoiding eye contact, with his eyes lowered, and is daydreaming. 

The pencil drawing is outlined in black pen. Behind the autistic person is the neurodiversity ‘infinity’ symbol, outlined in black pen and coloured as a rainbow with pen. 

The entire image is framed by the words ‘Unapologetically Autistic’ in black pen. ]

(I hope this was an adequate description. I tried, but I apologise if its not. Also sorry for my bad handwriting.)

“A person wearing headphones and/or avoiding eye-contact when you are talking isnt necessarily ‘rude’. That person may be autistic and most probably finds it easier to listen like that! Please respect their sensory needs!”

Just a quick PSA. 

I’m feeling a lot less pissed off at neurotypicals today so that calls for less angry art. 

Avoiding eye contact and wearing headphones all the time is often perceived by neurotypical people as a rather rude gesture. This is unfortunate and is something that really has to be unlearnt for the benefit of autistic and otherwise neurodivergent people who do these things. 

Autistic people (as well as some other neurodivergent people) avoid eye contact because the experience ranges from uncomfortable and mildly distressing to very painful and upsetting. Avoiding eye contact is much more comfortable and natural for a lot of us and makes us feel a bit more at ease interacting with people and the world in general. (I will add though that not all autistic people avoid eye contact but enough of us do that it needs to be respected. If you meet a person who says they are autistic but are able to make eye contact yes they are still autistic.)

Forcing an autistic person to make eye contact with you is not only incredibly rude and insensitive, but it is also an act of ableism. You are in no way entitled to force anyone to make eye contact with you. Please respect autistic and otherwise neurodivergent peoples need to avoid eye contact. 

Wearing headphones all the time is something a lot of autistic people and people with sensory processing disorder do to avoid sensory overload and meltdowns that can be caused by loud noises or too many noises at once. It is important to remember that our hearing can be more sensitive than yours so what we perceive as loud might not seem that loud to you but that doesnt change the fact that it may still be painful to us. 

If an autistic person wears headphones while interacting with you they are not being rude, they are avoiding pain, sensory overload and potential meltdowns. Please respect this. If you try to force an autistic person to remove their headphones you are being rude and insensitive and being very ableist. 

That is all for now, unless I have forgotten something. Thank you. 

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Keelan Shilling and New York’s “Gates of Hell”

Beyond the hustle and bustle of the Melting Pot of the World lies a bizarre underground maze shrouded in fearful mystery and urban legends. Photographer Kealan Shilling and his friends dare to wander around the Gates of Hell for a bold yet memorable adventure.

Read our interview with Kealan here in Lomography Magazine.