Thanks to Smerk for posing this question in the forum
. I thought it deserved to be on the front page.
Around about mid-2009, a slideshow began circulating via email featuring a series of stunning images, all of which had supposedly been taken by an autistic German photographer, Patrick Notley. The images were soon posted on slideshare
, and then someone collected them together into a youtube video
. A few examples of some of the photos attributed to him:
But Notley himself seemed to be a bit of a mystery. Despite being such an accomplished photographer, he didn't have a website. Nor did his name appear in any newspaper or magazine.
The mystery deepens if, as Accipiter has pointed out in the forum, you look closely in the corners of many of the photographs. There you'll see printed the names of other photographers: Detlef Winkelewski, Thomas Mörchen, Thomas Agit, etc.
Based on this, I think it's safe to conclude that Patrick Notley, photographer, doesn't exist. He seems to be nothing more than a compelling fiction invented by someone to make a series of nice photographs seem even more impressive.
But a little more research reveals that the earliest
references to the Patrick-Notley slideshow don't actually describe Notley as the photographer. Instead, they had this message:
My name is Patrick Notley. I am Autistic and I produced this slide show for you. Please send it round the World. Let beauty shine through at last.
Notley isn't saying here that he took the photos. He's just saying he produced the slide show. That is, he chose the images. But as the slide show circulated around the internet, someone evidently decided it would be more interesting if he were the photographer. And that description stuck.
But if we accept that Patrick Notley isn't a photographer, is it safe to assume that he really exists (as an autistic person who likes to make slide shows)? I don't know. That's a lot harder to determine.
But it's worth noting that all the images seem to come from the same source, the German photography website fotocommunity.de
. (This connection was first made over at proshowenthusiasts.com
So if some guy named Patrick Notley did produce the slide show, he didn't have to work very hard to do so. He just cut-and-pasted everything together from one website. Perhaps he's both autistic and a little bit lazy.