Dylan: A life in sharp focus

18-year old Dylan helps people understand how he experiences the world through prize-winning photography and dance, raising awareness and promoting a message of kindness.

Dancing makes Dylan feel like he is floating whilst his photography shows the world as he experiences it and which others often don’t see – often a solitary figure framed by a larger landscape. Sometimes the figure expresses his loneliness, sometimes his wish to be alone.

In the past Dylan has found communicating with others difficult. He hasn’t had many friendships and he found it hard to understand why social situations could be challenging. Dylan also has a syndrome which means he looks different from others. With his autism this has compounded how other people react to him.

Putting lockdown in the frame

Dylan completed various photography training courses both before and during lockdown, not letting the cancellation of his college course derail him.

“Every photograph I take is unique just like me… when I’m in that moment I feel sheer joy and creativity.”

Indeed, lockdown proved a perfect opportunity for Dylan’s art. He took outstanding photos capturing the stillness of lockdown and the lone figures walking through the streets, exhibiting and selling them online. Greater Govanhill exhibited them here.

Great exposure

Dylan is becoming more and more visible. International artist Grayson Perry is a fan!

His photography is for sale in a bakery in Glasgow’s West End and he’s contributed to local blogs and even in the Sunday Post and BBC Radio Scotland.

The bakery told us:

“…we worked with the very very very very (very very very) talented @be_yourself_dylan who helped us put together a wee exhibition of his work. To say this is a huge achievement and a riot of colour on the walls is an understatement…”

A high performer

Dylan is a member of Youth Scotland Dance, Horizons and Independence. He’s performed in Scotland and even in Spain, working with choreographers from around the world.

And following a performance on the One Show for Children in Need, superstar Robbie Williams clearly agreed, telling Dylan, “What you’re doing for Children In Need is vital. I’m proud of you mate, and thank you very much for picking my song. That makes me very happy.”

 A mentor and role model

Dylan is now sharing that can-do attitude. He’s a mentor in violence prevention, teaching pupils how to respond to difficult situations using different strategies and scenarios.

He works with ‘Bridging the Gap,’ helping people transition to high school through a mix of counselling and public speaking. He was asked to talk at his old primary school during Autism awareness month, and has also delivered assemblies all through high school to different year groups explaining about disability.

He was voted vice-captain in his final year of high school, campaigning for a disability charter for the school. And to date, he’s even raised over £10,000 for Jeans for Genes, for their research into syndromes like his.

The world needs more people like Dylan. We hope his story has inspired you. What can-can you do?

Visit Dylan’s website


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