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Through vivid images and a candid narrative, parents describe the surreal experience of having twin sons with severe autism.
148 backers pledged $17,435 to help bring this project to life.

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Immersed: Our Experience with Autism

Five years of writing, seven years of photography, and ten years of experiences. The result: 265 pages of vivid images and candid narrative, describing the challenging, surreal experience of having twin sons with severe autism. 

Now, Immersed is ready for printing. Please support our campaign so we can take this final step. 

About the Book

Immersed is a hybrid book of photography by Bruce Hall and narrative by Valerie Hall. It includes over 170 full-color photographs and over 100 written pieces.

From the introduction:

Autism is not subtle. It is not vague. It pervades everything, surfaces everywhere. It blends into the woven strands of life, of reality, attaching itself so swiftly and completely that the entire world seems recast, reformed, reimagined, rewritten. No space, no concept is left untouched. Like a stone thrown into a still pool, autism displaces and disrupts its surroundings, sending ripples outward, repeating its impact across the surface and beneath it. For those who are immersed in this surreal world, it looks and feels as though autism is simply in…everything.

From the back cover (by Dawn Hassett):

Valerie Hall’s episodic text chronicles Jack’s and James’s condition as it transforms family life and poses ominous implications for the future. Her reactions to her own life in a world where autism makes the rules are candid and unfiltered. She rejects the tropes of most autism literature, spurning both memoir and “how-to” prescriptions. Instead she invites you to encounter Jack and James as she does, as boys that are both beautiful and broken. The day-to-dayness of her account has the disturbing effect of allowing the reader to step into a world where expectations are upended and encounters take on an aura of the surreal.

Bruce Hall aims his camera at Jack and James and brings back photographs that are unflinchingly close and personal. Through his very specificity, he opens a wider window into a foreign realm—the deep internal experience of autism. This selection of images is from Hall’s extended investigation of autism’s roiling surface. But it may well be something scarcer in photography and in art—a study not of surface, but of great depth.

Example Pages

Book design and layout by Lisa van Olden, Geographics

About the authors (by Dawn Hassett):

Valerie Hall holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles, and has been involved in the field of education for over 20 years. She is currently a researcher, working on evaluations of after-school programs, and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Learning and Cognition.

Bruce Hall is a legally blind photographer, teacher, and autism advocate. Hall’s photographs in this book are collisions between
 a photographer with just five percent of normal vision and his profoundly autistic, frenetically kinetic twin sons, Jack and James. The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division purchased a portfolio of this work for its permanent collection. Hall’s work has been published in textbooks, magazines including National Geographic, as well as been shown at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian; UCR/ California Museum of Photography, Riverside, California; The Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.; Center for Visual Art, Denver, Colorado; Naples Museum of Art, Naples, Florida; and the San Diego Natural History Museum. His work has also been exhibited internationally at museums in Mexico City, Moscow, and South Korea.

Bruce Hall Photography Website

Endorsements and News:

WHOLE YOU CELEBRATES THE SENSES AND ENCOURAGES PEOPLE TO LIVE A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITATIONS

--WholeYou, 12/3/15

Making Severe Autism Visible

--Amy Lutz, Psychology Today, 12/1/15

"Like all Parents, Bruce and Valerie Hall want the best for their children. When they realized they could not prepare their severely Autistic sons for the world - they knew they had to prepare the world for their sons. Their book Immersed is one family’s powerful step toward building a bridge to better connection."

--Angie Crouch, NBCLA Life Connected

“Thoughtful, honest, and probing, this unique book offers families afflicted with severe autism comforting validation of their experience. Courageous, self-disclosing reflections along with award-winning, surrealistic photography provide a rare glimpse of how this growing disability alters every aspect of family life. Reading this book will enrich your understanding of that world and enhance your response to those living in it. Additionally, it will stimulate you to think more deeply about whatever unfixable hardships life presents to you.”

--Paul B. Whittemore, Ph.D., ABPP Board Certified Clinical Psychologist

"Deeply personal. Darkly funny. Brutally compassionate. The Hall family have produced an invaluable travel guide to autism. Bruce and Valerie Hall and their sons Jack and James will take you to places inside the experience of autism that no other accounts even get near."

--Douglas McCulloh, Artist and Curator

"Looking at the faces of Jack and James behind frozen, streaking water-eruptions, the images seem to me like seismographic readings of outer and inner resonances, reflecting the photographer as well as the photographed. More than one of Bruce's photographs left its traces in my mind, and I decided to set out from Europe to capture his amazing work in a documentary film."

--Frank Amann, Filmmaker and Cinematographer, Berlin (Shot in the Darkhttp://www.weltfilm.com/en/films/in-production/shooting-in-the-dark) Many, many thanks to Frank and Weltfilm for allowing us to use some of their footage in our Kickstarter video!

"Color, light, movement, and especially water describe Bruce Hall’s photographs of his autistic twin sons. Hall, who is legally blind, uses the camera as a tool to see his children. His remarkable photographs invite us to observe fleeting moments in his beautiful boys' lives and help us to better understand autism."

--Carol Johnson, Library of Congress, Curator of Photography, 1999-2013

"For an artist with impaired vision, Bruce Hall's photographs are a remarkable testament to being present and connected as a father and as a participant observer in the life his his sons. His photographs exude energy and pathos and intimacy that come from his profound ability to celebrate and document every day moments of life in the Hall house. He uses those photographs to help us understand what it is like to live with autism, allowing us into his world, into what he knows to be true. And because of that process, Bruce changes a deeply personal visual experience into one that is universally meaningful."

--Aline Smithson, Award-winning fine art photographer and founder of the blog lenscratch.com www.alinesmithson.com

Lenscratch article, 11-10-15

"Valerie Hall has written an unflinching narrative of her surreal life as the mother of two profoundly autistic twin boys. Ultimately, this book is about so much more than 'special needs' children or 'grieving parents.' It’s a lot more than a memoir. Valerie is fearless as a mother lion and fearless as a writer. But her ferocity is tempered by a sensitivity and introspection that is very moving. In chapter after chapter, she weaves between the near impossible chaos of caring for two profoundly autistic sons and her absolute commitment to nurture her daughter. 

"Valerie’s brilliance is complemented by her husband Bruce Hall’s powerful and revealing photographs of their boys. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Bruce’s images are worth a billion. Jack and James don’t pose, they’re always themselves. Bruce, a patient artist and a loving father captures the joy and chaos of their lives. Much has been made of the fact that Bruce is legally blind, but the unvarnished truth is-He’s an artist and he sees things differently. Much, much differently.

"It’s a very human trait to live in denial--to hope something will change, to pray, to bargain, to grasp at straws and ignore the things right before us. There’s something even stronger and more profound in looking at something without hope or expectation and telling the truth. Valerie and Bruce do all of this and more. This book is truthful, surreal, disturbing, and finally, just brilliant."

--Robert David Hall, Actor, Musician, and Disability Advocate

Funding will cover:

Book design and formatting (completed in March 2015)

Book printing

Audiobook production and CDs

16x20 prints and postcards

Packing and shipping

Kickstarter fees (5-10%)

Funding beyond the goal will be used for shows (photography exhibits) and other outreach efforts on behalf of families living with autism and other developmental disabilities. Expenses covered would include printing, framing, travel, etc.

16x20 Print Choices (Rewards 9-13)

PHOTO #1 (Reward #9)

PHOTO #1
PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2 (Reward #10)

PHOTO #2
PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3 (Reward #11)

PHOTO #3
PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4 (Reward #12)

PHOTO #4
PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5 (Reward #13)

PHOTO #5
PHOTO #5

Risks and challenges

The funding goal, if met, will cover all expenses for the first print run of the book, printing of the postcards, copies of the audiobook CD, printing of the 16x20 prints, and shipping.

It is possible that the printing and delivery of the books could be delayed, but the date set for fulfillment has taken typical potential delays into account. The book is finished and ready for printing, and terms for the printing have been discussed and confirmed with the printer.

All other items are ready to be printed or copied, and this will be done locally, so no significant delays are anticipated.

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Funding period

- (31 days)