Individuals with Autism Celebrate 100 Years of Cherry Blossoms with Special Photo Shoot
Washington, DC—As thousands of tourists flocked from all over the world to witness the 100th year of the magnificent cherry blossoms in Washington, DC, a group of photographers with autism also took aim with their cameras at the District’s most celebrated trees.
A group of four photographers with autism --Brian, James, Matt and Jimmie -- captured the beauty of the cherry blossoms during peak bloom last week with their Nikon Coolpix L18’s.
“These men captured an enduring symbol of friendship and community while experiencing the tremendous joy of artistic self-expression. This is a chance for Washington to see how individuals with autism view the cherry blossoms through their own lenses,” said Ian Paregol, Executive Director of Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC), who accompanied the group.
Each of the four photographers is a client of CSAAC located in Montgomery Village, Md., one of the oldest and largest autism services providers in the nation.
This is the second year this group of photographers has participated in shooting the cherry blossoms. Photographs from last year’s shoot were featured at a major DC art show, and one photo was recently featured in a story about the cherry blossoms by a high-end publication for executive travelers.
The photographers are enrolled in CSAAC’s “InFocus Project” that enables individuals with autism to build business venture skills by creating unique items to sell in an online store as well as assisting with packaging and mailing items to donors. To view profiles of the photographers or to learn more about the InFocus Project, go to www.csaac.org/infocus/index.htm
The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC commemorates the 1912 gift of Japanese cherry trees from Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki to the U.S. and celebrates the friendship between Japan and the United States.
CSAAC provides educational services, residential living, supported employment and in-home services for children and adults with autism. CSAAC also operates an intensive early intervention program for toddlers newly diagnosed with autism (www.CSAAC.org).