The Life She Has Forgotten
Project Statement: My great aunt has dementia. Although she still has a twinkle in her eyes, she is slowly fading away. She no longer remembers her own home. It's just a small apartment at the back of what was once a country store, gas station, barber shop and automotive garage. She and my uncle owned and managed this hub of her small rural community. When he became disabled, she added full time caretaker to her resume.
I remember visiting her as a child. We ate big bowls of ice cream together in her sitting room, and she always let my sister and me fill paper bags with penny candy from her store before we left. The appearance of her living quarters changed very little over the decades. Eventually, she closed all her businesses.
How I wish I could've photographed her home at its heyday: my uncle in grease stained coveralls fixing cars in his garage; my aunt pumping gas out front; and locals catching up on gossip in the store. But that time has disappeared, and only the faintest traces remain. My aunt lives with my parents now, and her home has been vacant for the last three years. Little by little, they are cleaning it out, preparing to sell. I'm trying to photograph the life she has forgotten before it is all gone.