The Human Camera


From Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society:

Stephen Wiltshire has been called the “Human Camera.” In this short excerpt from the film Beautiful Minds: A Voyage into the Brain, Wiltshire takes a helicopter journey over Rome and then draws a panoramic view of what he saw, entirely from memory. Incredibly, however, Wiltshire does not have a photographic memory (according to this article, no one does). While his drawings possess uncanny accuracy — he gets the number of arches in the Colliseum exactly right — they are not like a Xerox. As Oliver Sacks writes in his book An Anthropologist On Mars, “His pictures in no sense resembled copies or photographs, something mechanical and impersonal — there were always additions, subtractions, revisions, and of course, Stephen’s unmistakable style. … Stephen’s drawings were individual constructions, but could they been seen, in a deeper sense, as creations?”

His drawings are strikingly similar to those of fellow autistic savant Gilles Trehin.


Update. He did the same thing in Tokyo. From Vudeja:

Stephen was invited to Tokyo and spent 30 minutes taking in 360 degrees of Tokyo skyline from the roof top (270 meters up) of Roppongi Hills. He was then provided a 360 degree 10 meter wide canvas, a box of pencils and pens, and in seven days had completed what was a remarkably accurate panorama of the Tokyo skyline.