I’ve never been one to photograph a subject matter or do a project. I just always shot things that I saw in front of me and wanted to capture. Sometimes just to capture it and others time to see it how the camera sees it as it has a way of bringing things out if a different way. Recently though I’ve found myself not only shooting a subject and in a way, kind of documenting it but I’m also living with it.
Some time ago my grandmother moved in and she has Alzheimer’s and dementia. I spent a lot of time preparing for her moving in where I read all sorts of information and watched all sorts of videos as I was to become her primary caregiver during the day time hours. I quickly found that all that learning, while a help, is nothing like getting the experience firsthand but the same could be said for most everything in this world.
Now I knew I would take photographs of her while here. I figured it would be something to share with other family members so they could see her living life and would be a nice way to keep up with what was going on other than just through phone calls. It quickly turned into me documenting her life and while not in full detail it’s been more than I expected. So much so that for the first time in the years I have been taking pictures I can honestly say I have a project or a subject matter. I try not to think of it that way as somehow I feel it a bit disrespectful being my grandmother and all but sometimes things are what they are.
At this point I’m no advocate for Alzheimer’s and dementia as my images have been of peaceful times. The truth of the matter is, this lifestyle of being a caregiver to one with a mind not at 100% working ability is a tough one. It’s mentally and physically exhausting. I never thought I would have to clean up things from my own grandmother that require me wearing gloves or even having to bath her because of an accident while she cries and begs me to not look. It really kills you inside. My images show none of this or any other moments of struggle and hardship and right now, I don’t care for them to. At this point in time what I document and what I share will be of good things and only share something not so good if it’s really worth doing so as part of the narrative and even then I’m not really documenting this all to the best it could be done. As such if you wish to follow along you can find some of my images posted on my Flickr gallery while I post more and random stuff through my recently activated Instagram account.
Links for both can be found here…