— David, I Am Your Voice, You Are My Heart
I Am Your Voice, You Are My Heart is an intimate look at David, a 26-year old young man who is severely autistic and the son of photographer James Lattanzio. The project visualizes his daily struggles, everyday routines, and repetitions in his life that help to keep him grounded and feel safe. The work brings awareness to an idiosyncratic, usually unseen, and isolated life while humanizing and breaking down stereotypes of the developmentally disabled.
The images were photographed just prior to the Coronavirus outbreak in New York City, USA. They raise awareness of the intersection of mental health problems created by the forced social distancing and isolation of the pandemic, and the experience of developmentally disabled individuals like David, who are ostracized because of prejudices and stereotypes. Along with the conditions of the disability, this results in social distancing that is not an aberration but the norm. Hopefully, one of the changes the pandemic will bring – thanks to this shared experience – is a deeper understanding, empathy, and acceptance of individuals who are disabled.
James Lattanzio, born in 1959, is a documentary photographer and visual journalist originally from New York City and currently based in Montclair, New Jersey, USA. His most recent projects have focused primarily on disability, community and youth culture. Lattanzio graduated in 2020 from the Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism Program at the International Center of Photography in New York.