PhotographerMadison Horne
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

This series is about my brother Cole who has autism. It aims to show how he communicates and interacts with the world around him, with a disability that hinders his ability to do so fully.


Dear Cole, Someone once told me that everyone has a little box of darkness in their lives, but that this box could hold many treasures. Some people don't understand you and that will always upset me. But at the same time, I just have to laugh because they will never understand what a blessing it truly is to have such a wonderful brother such as you. I'm sure it probably bothers you that I always have my camera in your face, but the harmony created by the two of you has given me the exquisite gift of seeing. I don't know if I have ever shared my fears with you, maybe that is because you cannot express them back through words, but you have made me brave. Life can be a scary thing, you and I both know that, but we can only find the the extraordinary in the light once we have been in the dark for so long. You have been one of the few people to help me see how much a gift life is, even if does come wrapped in a box that seems to be filled with only darkness. I want you to understand why I take photographs and more importantly why I choose you as my subject. I want to create captivating images that whisper my secrets to those willing to listen, those willing to open up and become vulnerable to reality. My photographs do not need to sing a song of sadness, rather a song rejoicing life. I may never fully understand your version of reality, but please know that I will never stop trying. I know that you may not be able to communicate your hopes and dreams, fears and concerns, but I know that there is more than meets the eye with you. I feel like we just get each other, even if there is this inevitable space between us through your autism. But don't ever look at yourself as disabled, handicapped or a burden. You never have been, or ever will be, any of those things in my eyes. I love you and thank God for you everyday. You may appear to be elsewhere to others that don't understand, but know that you will always be in my heart as my muse, my best friend, and my brother. I want to travel to that world of elsewhere with you. Maybe there we can start a new kind of communication. Maybe there we won't have to keep our secrets, desires and apprehensions to ourselves. There, we will be able to scream them out to the world and make people listen. But until then, I hope you can understand why I photograph you. I hope we can continue on in this journey for a lifetime. I love you bub. To infinity and beyond, Madison