One of the children depicted in the current exhibition is Andrew Collins of Woburn, who was 11 and 12 years old when Chalmers took photos of him.
“Having Kristin take Andrew’s picture was an amazing opportunity,” said Laurel Collins, Andrew’s mother. “She knows that kids with autism are difficult to engage. They do not typically smile or pose for cameras, and in fact they do not do much at all on command. She knows that to get an image that captures their essence, you have to enter their world.”
In Andrew’s case, said his mother, this meant understanding his obsession with teddy bears.
“Teddy bears make him happy, and Kristin wanted pictures in which he would be interacting with something, and she understood that bears are what interest him,’’ said Collins.
“Some people might find it weird to see a kid as big as Andrew playing with a teddy bear. But Kristin encouraged it. In the pictures she took, he looks so happy. And he’s a kid who doesn’t always express happiness with the structured world around him.”
Chalmers’ work will remain on exhibit through March 30 in the Mankiw Family Gallery at the Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School, 785 Beaver St. in Waltham. Gallery hours are weekdays 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or by appointment. To learn more about Chalmers’s work and the Broad Spectrum Project, go to www.kristinchalmersphoto.com.
Nancy Shohet West can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.