11″ x 14″ silver gelatin prints, 2009
When I was 19, my mother let it slip that my tutu had dementia while she was making a joke at a relative’s birthday party. I was surprised, though I probably could’ve guessed her illness if I wanted. But I was just a bystander to my tutu’s illness. I did not experience the deterioration of her brain or her loss of short-term memory. I saw the confusion on her face, reminded her of the day/year/time, I answered to my mother’s name, I heard her favorite childhood story twice an hour.
For this project, I narrated what I imagined to be my tutu’s experience with dementia by blending time and space, recent portraits and family snapshots. Visualizing the disorientation of memory loss, the layered portraits create a sense of regression in her timeline where her presence in time is no longer anchored.