‘Trying to keep Going’ – Memory Loss
These images below were my final images for last terms ‘Portrait’ brief. The words are the accompanied text that I submitted with the work. All the quotes you see on the images were written by the individual photographed in an attempt to give my audience a brief personal account of the memory loss that these people suffer. The work wasn’t very well received by my tutors as they felt I had deviated from what the course was about. However, after overcoming the initial frustration of my low grade I decided I still believed in this body of work- whether it fitted the press and editorial style or not and would post it here for others to see.
There are 700,000 people currently living with dementia in Britain and with figures likely to rise at an alarming rate to one million in only nine years, understanding this disease has never been so vital. The symptoms of dementia include memory loss, difficulty with communication and language, confusion and dramatic personality changes. The illness is degenerative, therefore, whilst we continue to search for a cure, slowing down these symptoms is all we can do. This is where Memory Cafes help. Quizzes, crosswords, singing, creative movement, coordination and above all, socialising can stall the disease before it completely takes over.
Every fortnight, in the local Methodist Church those suffering from dementia and their carers congregate for two hours. I have been visiting Falmouth Memory Cafe over the past months, photographing the members and attempting to gain a greater understanding of their dementia. I met people with a positive outlook and a brilliant sense of humour who had formed strong friendships in the Cafe, but beneath the laughter, clatter of tea cups and smiling faces was a real sense of sadness. Distracted, they gaze off into the distance, searching for those lost memories and forgotten faces. As the dementia continues to hold a tighter grip on their lives they’re ‘trying to keep going’, and through the Memory Cafe this is possible.
Through this short series of portraits I hope to give an insight into dementia from the perspective of those living with it and perhaps to bring us little closer to understanding what it is to suffer from this relentlessly degenerative illness.