WNPR

Intimate Photos on Display in New London Chronicle a Twin Brother's Cerebral Palsy

Sep 15, 2016

Photographer Christopher Capozziello started taking pictures of his brother Nick before he was a professional photographer. The pictures became a way to deal with having a twin brother who suffers in ways Chris does not.  

Those pictures became part of a book -- and soon, a feature-length film.

Some of the photographs are now on view at a museum in New London.  

Nick Capozziello was born with cerebral palsy. His twin brother Chris, a photojournalist, was not. 

When Chris was studying photography, he was encouraged to look closely at the things around him -- things he’s used to. That’s when he started taking pictures of his brother Nick.

"In the beginning it was a way of practicing" Chris said. "It was a way of me trying to figure out who I was becoming as a photographer."

Speaking in a past interview on WNPR’s Where We Live, Chris talked about the process of documenting his brother’s life through pictures, and how he struggled to make sense of their differences. 

"As much as I was photographing the happy times -- the times when he wasn’t in pain -- I was also photographing him in pain," Chris said. "And in the middle of it, I couldn’t tell you why I was making those pictures. There’s always an element of pity, and I always had a really hard time dealing with that growing up. The pictures, in a strange way, force me to deal with these things."

Nick Capozziello. "Often, when I stop by the house, I find Nick like this. Alone and in bed with a cramp, hardly able to move, or talk, or spend any time with me," Chris wrote in "The Distance Between Us."
Credit Christopher Capozziello / From "The Distance Between Us"

The photographs, along with the stories behind them, were published in a book in 2013 called The Distance Between UsMediaStorm, an interactive production company, is now turning the brothers' story into a film being submitted to festivals this fall.

Initially, Chris said he struggled with the idea of sharing their story with the world, but realized there was a bigger story to tell.

"He’s more than just his disability, and so I want to be fair with my brother -- like I try to be fair with every other story that I work on -- and hit different notes of his life," he said. "You know, who he is as a human being, his humor."

The photography of both brothers is featured in the book. Nick said it was tough seeing himself in seizure-like cramps, but sharing their story brought them closer. 

"I want to look back at these pictures and just be able to remember the good times that we had," Nick said.

Photographs from the book are now on view at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum through October 2.