with a purpose

I am currently deciding what to do for the video assignment for ds106. So many things to try. I’m undecided as yet but wanted to share some old videos (made in 2007). These have been blogged before when I made them but the reason I wanted to include them as a ds106 post is because they illustrate two separate purposes…

I know that in the great scheme of video making that these are fairly low tech. But at the time I made these – I had never done anything like this before. What drove me was the need to get a message out into the ether. We had a tough time 4 years ago and had to fight alot. One of the things that helped me get through this time (in addition to my partner and son) was a re-discovery of phototgraphy, and a discovery of the flickr community. I was using my phototgraphy to try to educate people about autism because most of my son’s difficulties came from other people’s ignorance.

So as well as aphoto essay and a lack and white set on flickr I made a video using my photos and some music found on ccmixter. I think the music fits perefectly and I really enjoyed making it. I had a compelling reason to create this video – the message was really important to me. Alot of videos about autism on youtube are about finding a cure. This does not sit well with me (or particularly with some people with autism). If my brain is wired differently from yours then don’t assume it’s not a positive thing. Autism can bring a unique view on the world that leads to invention, and different levels of understanding. We should value it but we need to understand this to some extent in order to see the positve side. I am talking from my own experience of aspergers syndrome – so this is a personal view. However alot of the comments do reflect that others feel the same.


music by fourstones from ccmixter.org
Hamlet’s theme

That is not to say that the purpose of being creative and enjoying a process is not valid. It is and after making the first one I also made the following video. I had discovered this fantastic song on ccmixter and decided to use a range of my portraits to make a video. So I re-processed them all in black and white to create a consistency and add drama – in hindsight I think I should have made it shorter. It has no message like the previous one, but it is about capturing the essense of people through photography and the song – remember my name fits really well. ccmixter is brilliant as a resource – you support other artists and you know you are not breaking copyright.

I can hardly remember how I did this but pretty sure I just used the standard windows application.

music by Luke Tripp
‘Please just remember my name’


By |July 15th, 2011|ds106|4 Comments


  1. Jim Groom July 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm - Reply


    I love both videos, you really are quite the photographer. What’s more, the idea changing the conversation around autism from some notion of a cure to understanding is seems right on to me. The drive to normalize all difference is possibly the greatest threat to any sense of shared culture we share as humans. Everything is becoming more and more the same and the idea of some idea of a normal is so often filtered through our institutions—and as much as we want to pretend we can stand outside of it—it’s extremely difficult. Re-thinking our assumed idea of normal and what is “right” seems to me a salvo to so many things right now. Brava! I love video, and you have inspired me to share some of my videos over the years, not nearly as purposeful or thoughtful as yours, but they were very, very fun to make.

    • Lou Mcgill July 16, 2011 at 7:11 am - Reply

      thanks jim – i look forward to seeing your early videos – they kind of mark a passage of our lives too so always interesting to look back at older work and think of how you might do it differently now. Totally agree about the need to challenge the notion of ‘normal’ within out educational institutions – we are very lucky here that we can choose to operate outside them by stripping down to our core and changing our lives to support an alternative approach – but not everyonbe has the choice or means to do this and the damage of imposing standardisation on the very essence of what makes us unique seems outrageous to me. I know it’s not easy but for me it is about institutions providing equitable service – not equal service – in the UK I think we got a bit tied up in the equality and inclusion agenda and lost the capacity to see the personal…

      Ranting now – better go make some art…

  2. Kathleen Johnson July 16, 2011 at 3:14 am - Reply

    That was a beautiful video of your son. My son (the DJ) has schizophrenia so I know what its like to deal with challenges. There are so many ways to be creative in our situations. And we can advocate. So I was profoundly moved by your video.

    • Lou Mcgill July 16, 2011 at 7:15 am - Reply

      thanks Kathy – your son is so talented and I love the way you have worked together on your assignments too. I think being creative is a really important way of dealing with difficulties and working through them. We have such a lot in common don’t we?

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