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Unique focus for young photographer

PUBLISHED: 15:27 15 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:32 25 August 2010

STRIKE A POSE: Chris.

STRIKE A POSE: Chris.

AN INSPIRATIONAL young man with Down s syndrome has realised an ambition to have his work exhibited at a centre named after a famous rock star.

AN INSPIRATIONAL young man with Down's syndrome has realised an ambition to have his work exhibited at a centre named after a famous rock star.

Two years ago Chris Diedo, now 23, from north Kent surprised his father Andrew when, unprompted, he asked bosses during a visit to the Mick Jagger Centre in Shepherd's Lane, Dartford, if he could exhibit his photographic work.

They told him that when he had enough exhibits to come back and they would "consider it".

Hundreds of snaps later the fiercely independent, former North West Kent College student, has 60 inventive and thought provoking photographs exhibited at the centre.

John Young is a teacher in foundation studies at Chris's former college campus in Dering Way, Gravesend.

He was so inspired by his photography that he agreed to write poetry for ten framed exhibits chosen by Chris, to be auctioned in aid of Bexley Down's Syndrome Group. One striking black and white photo depicting shadows of railings across a flowered gravestone in Dartford caught his imagination.

Mr Young said: "The flowers were almost defending the grave, looking after it, making sure it was safe."

The youngster's dad Andrew Diedo, a retired teacher with a keen interest in photography, said: "I realised the impact I had on him that day two years ago.

"Quite a few of his pictures are taken at a tangent, something I tried to correct at first but then I realised he has his own unique style and way of looking at subjects.

"The range is remarkable. He took a series of shots in Whitstable taken through shop windows. It's interesting because you can see the couple at a table smiling back at Chris whose reflection is in the café window.

"His passion has given him confidence to engage with the public and he calls the shots with his camera. He likes to strike up a rapport with the people he is photographing."

Dartford Grammar School for boys, former school of Rolling Stones legend Sir Mick Jagger, is running a poetry and prose competition based on Chris Diedo's work, who will present the winning prizes.

The exhibition - Through the Eyes of Christopher Diedo - runs until Thursday, April 30.

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