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Jesse Neider January 25, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Morocco.

From a project about Autism. Rabat, Morocco 2012

Jesse Neider (b. 1981, USA) holds a Master’s in Photojournalism from Syracuse University. He has collaborated with various domestic non-profit organizations as well as NGO’s in South Africa and Haiti. In 2012, Jesse partnered with an anthropologist from Columbia University and was awarded a grant to begin a documentary about autism in Morocco. A frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, his clients have also included NPR, The New York Times, Inc. Magazine, The Weather Channel, ESPN, and Bloomberg Magazine. Jesse previously ran international workshops for Pulitzer Prize winning photographer David Turnley. He was selected for Eddie Adams XXII in 2009, and was named a 2010 Artist Fellow by the Connecticut Board of Culture and Tourism. He is based in Connecticut.

About the Photograph:

“In 2010, a medical anthropologist conducting research on autism in Morocco contacted me to see if I would be interested in documenting his work. Having personal experience with an autistic aunt, and a firm belief that autism is one of the new millennium’s most significant global public health issues; I was excited to pursue such an important project. Morocco is the site of an important experiment in global autism activism. Since 1999, there have been increasing efforts in raising public awareness, training of experts, and creating an infrastructure for detecting, diagnosing and educating children as autistic.”

“I made this picture of Yehya, a beautifully spirited nine year-old boy with autism, as he used his fingers to “dance” with the beam of sunlight streaming into his bedroom window in the capital city of Rabat. Despite his inability to form cohesive sentences and days filled with extreme mood swings, I was always touched when I witnessed the moments it seemed Yehya felt a sense of inner peace or joy. I am looking forward to returning to Morocco this year to continue documenting this complex and personal story.”