It’s been a while since I last posted but during my break from university I’ve been pondering new ways to represent Alzheimer’s. When I was at uni and constantly working on my project it was like I had a continuous conversation with my father about his Dementia but now the train of thought is lost. I revisit the notebook we kept to share ideas and the notes I made of things he said to me to come up with new images but occasionally I worry that the pictures I make are of made up scenarios and symptoms. However, sometimes I also think that this isn’t such a massive issue… even if these images are not from his point of view they are from mine and that’s still something worth photographing.
‘In One Ear (Out The Other)’ is a series that explores Alzheimer’s, both what it is like to live with it first-hand and live with it in another member of the family. This book contains dramatized photographs of ‘scenes’ from my father’s everyday life since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and conceptual photographs that relate how he sees himself and his ‘new’ life, as well as how I see him.
Although I know how I view my father’s Alzheimer’s I do not know what it’s really like to live with it therefore I had to collaborate with my father to produce the most accurate representation I could. We kept a notebook together so I could let him know what I wanted him to tell me without him forgetting what the project was about and took his notes from that to turn them into photographs. This includes his new hobbies, responsibilities around the house, how he experiences problems with his memory, and how he has been coping with his diagnosis.
Since I first had the idea to base my project around Alzheimer’s I wanted those who read my book to experience as well as they could what my father experiences. Doing this through the format of book was sometimes limiting but I used repetition, the breaking up of images and the occasional pairing of photographs to create the illusion of memory loss and misplacement but also of association and familiarity – everything I see in my father and my father sees in everyday life.
View this project here
It’s still early days for this blog so I’ll start with some photos from my most recent project ‘In One Ear (Out The Other)’, a series that looks at Alzheimers; what it’s like to live with it first-hand and in the family.
More on this to come!