My Autistic Sister

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Photos taken by first-time contributor Ashley Hilgarth, a 20-year-old from Maine. Ashley’s sister has Autism. They live in different states, and are not close, but photographing her sister has brought them closer together.

About these photos: “For my documentary class in college, I chose to do my project on my autistic sister. I wanted to capture her youth, beauty, and creativity. We aren’t close personally but while doing this project on her, we grew closer. I wanted to show how my sister’s Autism doesn’t hold her back towards her daily life. People choose how they perceive people, whether they think it’s right or wrong. I wanted the audience to know more about my sister and where she comes from, her viewing of her world, and the challenges she faces.

Through this experience I realized that I barely know my sister. What I knew of her was from her daily activities, but being with her for periods of time, I started to understand her and feel her surroundings. What I thought and felt were in part from loneliness. Since we live far apart, we don’t get to see each other as often. For my sister Arianna, she understands that I’m not always there. That feeling of uncertainty of not knowing when we will next see each other creates a closer bond, and I was able to capture that. This piece of work gives me hope that she will one day find herself.

Find more from Ashley at her website.


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10 thoughts on “My Autistic Sister

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  1. Brilliantly captured images, each telling a different story. Particularly like the 3rd image where she is looking out the window as it really shows how deep in though autistic people can be at times.


  2. What sweet photos. Her expressions prove that those of us on the spectrum aren’t without emotion. I wasn’t close with my own sister (older and non-spectrum) really until after our mom died 2 years ago. God can and does heal things. I am sure that you will grow closer with more time together over time. It takes patience and forgiveness on both sides, that’s what I’ve learned


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