The Long Goodbye: Grandmother's Portrait During Her Final Years

In a project spanning five years, Anne Moffat offers an intimate portrayal of her beloved late grandmother and looks to interpret the disorientating and repetitive nature of Alzheimer’s disease from which she suffered.

In a project spanning five years, Anne Moffat offers an intimate portrayal of her beloved late grandmother and looks to interpret the disorientating and repetitive nature of Alzheimer’s disease from which she suffered.

My grandmother was a dragon. A token of authority, dignity, honour and success, those born into the year of the dragon are considered highly lucky. She was a mother to eight, grandmother to eighteen, great-grandmother to ten and counting — and a sufferer of late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Forget Me Not (2015-2019) portrays my experience over consequent trips to visit my maternal grandmother, Kong Fung Tsze, in Sandakan, Malaysia; a process of trying to understand more of who I am, while watching her lose her independence and sense of self.

The project was completed over seven visits during the last five years of her life. The images move between the stillness of my grandmother in her room and the continuations of life outside the room. The same moments appear again, photographed years apart, with subtle changes, intricately interwoven in a lyrical, dreamlike narrative.

Although it’s impossible to fully comprehend what people with Alzheimer’s experience, this is my visual interpretation of the disorientating, challenging and repetitive nature of the condition, and the feelings that arise from watching the slow decline of a life of someone you cherish.

In loving memory of my grandmother, Kong Fung Tsze, 1928-2019.

Words and Pictures by Anne Moffat.

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Anne Moffat (b. 1991, Australia) is a photographer working across an array of editorial, commercial and personal projects. Her current personal practice is of an autobiographical nature, drawing on ancestral ties to Malaysia, China, and New Zealand, and family migration to Australia, to inform her social documentation and portraiture. She is a member of Women Photograph. Find her on PHmuseum and Instagram.

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This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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