Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls
The Distance Between Us
I want answers. I want explanations for why some suffer and others do not. I want to know why some get better while others get worse. Is it fate or is it chance or is it just bad luck?
Initially, telling our story wasn’t something I set out to do; but over the years, one picture led to another, and a story has emerged. The time I spend photographing my twin brother has forced me to ask questions about suffering and faith, and why anyone is born with disability. Nick has Cerebral Palsy.
You can’t test for CP. It’s less a defined condition than a set of symptoms, the aftershock of an explosion no one hears. For Nick, that explosion came at birth. When he was born he was not breathing. Despite it, Nick is able to walk and speak and function on a fairly normal level, except for the fact that at any moment his muscles may spasm and cramp. When this occurs, his body contorts and locks, and he is unable to talk. A cramp may last minutes, or hours; sometimes his body is cramped for days.
When I look at him I feel lost. I wonder where the justice is in all of this. I am the brother who survives and has choices, and he is the brother who suffers and does not.
Growing up, I could never find the words to express my feelings, but I always wondered if my presence in the womb might have somehow made me responsible for what happened to him. It was a fear I felt I could never tell anyone as a child, yet as an adult I still feel it just the same.
In the end, I can’t answer the questions I’ve been asking myself our entire lives. But, after all these years, instead of asking why, I am starting for the very first time to ask what’s next for us. The pictures have unexpectedly begun to help me move past my own grief, past my fears, and past our family to find out what lies ahead for Nick and me. I don’t know how the future will look, but soon it will be just ours to figure out.
Christopher Capozziello (born 1980) is a freelance photographer. His work is primarily about inviting the viewer into personal stories in order to understand different facets of life.
Christopher’s work has been honored by World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, the Alexia Foundation, the Aftermath Project Grant, the National Headliner Awards, the China International Press Photo Contest, Days Japan, PDN Photo Annual, Photolucida’s Critical Mass, Review Santa Fe, American Photography, the Golden Light Awards, Communication Arts, the Magenta Foundation, Blurb Photography Book Now, National Press Photographers Association, Px3 – Prix de la Photographie, among others. His work on his twin brother was given an honorable mention for the Santa Fe Prize in photography and he was awarded the Berenice Abbott Emerging Photographer Prize. Christopher’s images have also been shown in both group and solo exhibitions throughout the U.S. and abroad.
His clients and publications include AARP Bulletin, Christianity Today, The Dallas Morning News, Days Japan, Education Week, Le Monde Magazine, L’Express, The Globe and Mail, The International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Open Society Institute, Samaritan’s Purse, The Sunday London Times Magazine, TIME, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Wall Street Journal, World Vision, and others. He has worked for The Sun Herald in Gulfport, Mississippi, and The Dallas Morning News in Dallas, Texas.
He currently lives in Milford, Connecticut, three miles from his twin brother. “The Distance Between Us” is his first book.