Who we are & why we are

Welcome to the gallery site of Broken Light Collective. We are artists of all levels and abilities who are affected by mental illness. We create and we share our work for the therapeutic benefits to us, as well as others who may be struggling and feeling scared and alone. Together we can move from disconnected to collective.

arianna -1arianna2-1 arianna6-1 arianna10-1 arianna11-1 arianna12-1 arianna14-1 arianna19-1 arianna22-1 arianna24-1

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.


**Visit Broken Light’s main gallery here ▸ Now a 501(c)3 non-profit! Please donate here.

*Facebook & Twitter @BrokenLighCo & @DanielleHark. Follow for e-mail notifications.

10 responses to “My Autistic Sister”

  1. Live Art Avatar

    So powerful! And beautiful photos.


  2. davisbrotherlylove Avatar

    Keep up the good work and keep up the project. I photographed my autistic brother for more than 20 years. You can learn quite a bit by photographing your sister as much as you can.


  3. Vandini Avatar

    Thoughtful, insightful pictures. Good job, writer. You’ve presented a new point of view and deepened my understanding.


  4. atomic Avatar



  5. John Kelly Avatar
    John Kelly

    Beautiful images. Well done in capturing your treasured sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Writing for Ghosts Avatar
    Writing for Ghosts

    Amazing work. To quote Ram Dass: “We’re all just waking each other home.”


  7. cadephotographic Avatar

    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.


  8. Find Focus Avatar

    These are gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. autisticaplanet Avatar

    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


  10. speciallearninghouse Avatar

    These are really beautiful!


Please Join the Conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: