A few days ago, I stumbled across Phillip Toledano's photo journal, entitled "Days with My Father," which chronicles his last years (2006-2009) with his ailing, aging father.
As he writes,
My Mum died suddenly on September 4th, 2006
After she died, I realized how much she’d been shielding me from my father’s mental state. He didn’t have alzheimers, but he had no short-term memory, and was often lost.
I took him to the funeral, but when we got home, he’d keep asking me every 15 minutes where my mother was. I had to explain over and over again, that she had died.
This was shocking news to him.
Why had no-one told him?
Why hadn’t I taken him to the funeral?
Why hadn’t he visited her in the hospital?
He had no memory of these events.
After a while, I realized I couldn’t keep telling him that his wife had died. He didn’t remember, and it was killing both of us, to constantly re-live her death.
I decided to tell him she’d gone to Paris, to take care of her brother, who was sick.
In June, the collection was published as a book, but the journal is still available online, here: http://www.dayswithmyfather.com/
Some of the images are heart-wrenching. The captions provide a warm supplement to the photos, but I found his photography to be illuminating in itself.
To me, he seemed to have captured his father's essence, especially in those moments of lucidity, however transient. Of course, I can't be certain of that, but if a photographer instills in me this sense of familiarity with the subject, then he's succeeded in more ways than simply snapping a good photograph.
Hope you enjoy viewing the photographs as much as I did. (I made my browser full-size, in order to view the entire image/caption, by pressing F11. I'm sure there is a menu for this if any are Apple users.)