Be Here to Love Me - PhMuseum

Be Here to Love Me

Liz Sanders

2018 - Ongoing

Arkansas, United States

Dementia has been described as ‘an illness where the whole family gets the diagnosis.’ The nuances of the changing relationships that result from the disease are ever present, and the family unit is forever altered.

This project focuses on my father’s struggle with dementia, and the long-troubled relationship between my mom and I, that has shifted into something more beautiful, each year that he remembers less. The shared sadness that we carry in loving him has brought about a major transformation. Through photography, we have become allies. She is both my collaborator and assistant as I photograph, holding the reflector, or coaching dad as I take his portrait. He is no longer able to tell stories, and it is through the image that I am searching for him, turning to fiction to fill in the holes of his life with my own imagined or altered memories. How else do you locate the personhood of someone who is no longer the person you knew? Through this project, I have come to understand the value of process and what the making of an image can do for those in it. The image becomes a talisman that holds the power of our familial exchange. The image is a way to heal.

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