|Delavan teen speaks through photography|
|Written by Lisa M. Schmelz|
|Wednesday, 31 August 2011 14:53|
A photograph by Dylan Kligora, 16, of Delavan at his grandfather's farm. Kligora, who is unable to talk, speaks through the photos he takes — often of rural life and work on and around the farm.
(Read the story in the e-edition of the 2011 Walworth County Fair special section HERE.)
DELAVAN -- They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but for Dylan Kligora of Delavan it might be double that. Unable to talk, Dylan, 16, has Down syndrome and autism. For him, communication is a mountain. But with the camera that is rarely out of his hands, it’s a mountain that’s easier to climb.
“I think that’s the best way he has to express himself because he’s not able to speak,” says his mother, Becky, sitting at the kitchen table with Dylan and his father, Rylan. “He can take pictures of something he did and show grandma or aunties and uncles and talk about it that way.”
Dylan, who also has type I diabetes, the thyroid disorder Hashimoto’s and is bald due to alopecia, started taking pictures several years ago with a Fisher Price Kid Tough and quickly got hooked. Today, he shoots with a Kodak Easy Share C183, capturing everything and everyone around him, including his brothers Tyler and Juan.
Once his parents transfer his camera’s memory card to his iPad, Dylan has the ability to express his needs and recall people, places and things. He takes dozens of pictures daily and is especially drawn to rural scenes, which he has access to on his grandparent’s farm. Cars that have seen better days also catch his eye.
“He’s obsessed with smashed cars,” says his dad, an auto body repairman.
“Dylan and his dad could team up and do estimates right off the photos Dylan takes,” adds his mom, scrolling through her son’s photographic inventory of damaged vehicles.
After his mother suggests the father-son business venture, Dylan smiles and a barely audible laugh passes over his lips. Very little is lost on him. The thousands of photos he’s taken are proof of that. Last year, Dylan’s mom entered two of his photographs in the Walworth County Fair’s division for special needs children. Taken of his grandfather, they won a blue ribbon.
He’s entering the fair’s photo competition again this year, but honestly, his work doesn’t need to be segregated. Looking at a series of Dylan’s rural landscapes, Mark Brown, a Chicago photographer featured on “Oprah” for his portrait work with disabled children, became an immediate fan. Brown says Dylan’s cognitive impairments can actually be an artistic strength.
“I was just blown away with his photographs,” says Brown. “That there’s this child, with his struggles, doing this . . . When people try to get the perfect shot, it creates this fear, and then, it’s never going to happen. He doesn’t seem to have that fear.”
Studying a photograph Dylan took last fall on a local ranch, Brown marvels at its slight right angle, its light, the shadow in the foreground, the cattle in the distance, and the tractors at rest.
“This could be a professional shot,” Brown says. “I like his eye and that he’s seeing all these different things. This photo tells me what a day would be like here.”
Amy Burgstede-Rhode said:
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 15:07|