Welcome to Common Core Texts, a project by Michael DeJoseph. Here you'll find high-quality reading passages for grades 3 to 12 in ELA, Social Studies, History, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and many other topics.

The Human Camera
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

Could you draw a picture of the street you live on from memory? How many details would you remember? Most of us do not have the ability to remember the tiny details of things we have seen. However, there are people who have this skill. They have photographic memories, which means that their memories are as accurate as a photograph. Stephen Wiltshire is one of those people.

Wiltshire is known as “the human camera” for his incredible photographic memory. He can draw an entire city without needing to refer to maps or pictures. For example, Wiltshire once took a helicopter ride over the city of London. After the ride, he created a detailed drawing of four square miles of the city from memory alone. His drawing accurately captured even the tiniest details of London.

As a child, Wiltshire was slow to speak. He has autism, a condition that can make social interactions difficult. But from an early age, he showed incredible talent as an artist. In fact, Wiltshire’s first word was “paper.” By the age of eight, he sold his first drawing. It was a sketch of the famous Salisbury Cathedral, the tallest church in England. The drawing was purchased by Edward Heath, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Today, Wiltshire has an art gallery in the center of London. His drawings sell for tens of thousands of dollars. His amazing abilities have made him the subject of newspaper articles, books, and TV news segments. Wiltshire’s story is an inspirational example of the power of the human brain.

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