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Eli Meir Kaplan January 11, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.

Constance Regaldo and Daniel Tuttle, Jr., San Antonio, TX, 2009

Eli Meir Kaplan (b.1978, USA) is a photographer and multimedia producer based in Austin, TX. He discovered photography on a volunteer program in Israel during the second Intifada when he realized that he was skilled at interacting with people in misunderstood populations and felt a need to help their voice be heard. Bruce Davidson’s “East 100th Street” and mentorship from Andre Lambertson at the International Center of Photography in New York City later inspired Eli to pursue photography full-time. Eli graduated from the University of Texas Master of Arts program in photojournalism in 2009, finishing his master’s report on autism. An alumnus of the Eddie Adams Workshop, Eli’s clients include Time.com, The Wall Street Journal and Texas Monthly.

About the Photograph:

“I chose autism as the topic for my master’s report at the University of Texas at Austin because my sister is an applied behavioral analysis therapist. I was interviewing families for my report when I met Daniel Tuttle, Jr. and his foster mother, Sandra Stephenson. Autism has been covered a lot, but Sandra and Daniel’s story was different from what I had seen before. At 14 years-old, Daniel still could not communicate at all and was not toilet trained, which is very unusual at his age. Sandra was open to me photographing, but I was both surprised and grateful that Daniel’s biological mother, Connie, was as well. Connie sees her son on weekends, but for the most part she has relinquished caregiver responsibilities, like the toilet-training regimine pictured, to Sandra. I thought she might be defensive about it and about Daniel’s delayed development, but she didn’t have anything to hide.”

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