Brother Turns to Photos to Illustrate Cerebral Palsy Struggles

The scenes depicted in the photographs are ordinary in so many ways.

A man lights a cigarette. The same man sits and drinks a can of soda. He walks up a flight of stairs. In another, his mother serves him food at the dinner table.

But something is different about the images. The man, whose name is Nick Capozziello, appears to be struggling with many of these activities. His posture is unusual. The activities look much less simple for Nick than they would for the rest of us.

That’s because Nick has cerebral palsy, a lifelong condition that greatly affects movement, posture and muscle structure.

For the past 13 years, his brother Christopher, a photographer, has been chronicling Nick’s life with his camera. The photos tell the story of their Connecticut family and highlight Nick’s struggles and successes. Some are heart-breaking. Others are heart-warming.

Through a campaign on Kickstarter, Christopher has raised more than $27,000 in order to publish a book of the photographs – far more than the $16,000 goal he initially set. The response has been overwhelming.

The book will be called The Distance Between Us.

Chronicling the Distance

It wasn’t so easy at first. Like many people afflicted with a serious ailment, Nick didn’t want to be put in the spotlight.

Christopher explained to Buzzfeed last month that he first began sneaking a picture of his brother here and there 13 years ago, getting a handle for the art of photography. When Nick noticed, he would look away, give his brother the middle finger or, in one instance, punch him in the face.

But the images soon took on a deeper meaning. They highlighted the difference between the two brothers – a gap much larger than most brothers find between themselves. It was something that had been a source of guilt for Christopher his entire life.

“I am the brother who survives and has choices, and he is the brother who suffers and has less,” he told Buzzfeed.

But he always had a hard time expressing how that made him feel – until he realized the photographs told the story for him. They illustrated the distance better than words could.

“ … Without any intention of telling our story, it emerged years later out of a steadily growing archive that chronicled his experiences and unknowingly at that point, my grief,” he told Buzzfeed.

As for Nick, he’s been fine with his picture being taken for a long time now. His favorite photo, according to Christopher, is one of him dancing with an attractive woman he approached at a bar and asked to dance.

A Debilitating Condition

The extent to which cerebral palsy affects a person varies greatly depending on the individual. Some can walk; others cannot. Some may have normal intellectual abilities, while others are intellectually disabled. Some suffers may also be epileptic, blind or suffer have some other serious condition.

In many cases, cerebral palsy has no known cause. However, when cerebral palsy develops after birth, it is often due to a serious brain injury — such as a car crash or a fall. In other words, something that didn’t have to happen.

At The Oshman Firm, we are New York and New Jersey attorneys who seek justice for families dealing with congenital conditions that were caused by the negligence of another person or business or by medical malpractice. If your family has been affected by cerebral palsy or another condition that should not have happened, contact us today for a free consultation.


Ted Oshman has been with The Oshman Firm since 1988 serving clients for over 25 years. Learn more about Ted's background and featured practice areas here.

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