While making Breathers, a series of photographs of looming Pacific Northwest trees as metaphors for this fading, I was inspired to look at how other photographers approach the disease. The following artists use photography to understand, process, and cope with their experience of Alzheimer’s, as well as dementia and other forms of memory loss. Some face it with a direct, documentary-style approach, while others use still life, abstraction, and other devices as visual metaphors. Cheryle St. Onge, Stephen DiRado, Norma Cordova (a.k.a. Shesaidred), Kija Lucas, and Birthe Piontek respond to family members who presently have or have died from the illness. Other artists, including Maja Daniels, look at how society cares for those impacted, while William Miller faces his own diagnosis. It’s heartbreaking and revealing.
In my research for this feature, I came across dozens of moving projects that I did not have the space to write about. I encourage those working within this theme to consider applying for the Bob and Diane Fund Grant, which has been an incredible inspiration.
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