This project is very personal to my me and my family, as it will also relate to many other families and individuals all over the world. Displacement is a photo series based on dementia and mental health. Alzheimer’s (AD) is a cause of dementia, it causes difficulty in remembering events. As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation (including easily getting lost), mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self-care, and behavioural issues. As these worsen over time the individual suffering from AD can begin to forget things such as names and faces of people in their lives, even close relatives. This is a terrible disease that greatly affects everyone around the individual with it. My great grandfather had AD and I first hand witnessed the pain and loss that this disease causes. This project gave me a platform to express my loss and the stages of the disease as well as the different stages of emotion revolving around it; from the sufferers and the people around the person. I witnessed my great grandparents gradually losing their memories and felt the complete heartache of knowing they will not remember how wonderful their life was prior. I saw how my family grieved and suffered; seeing someone they loved sit before them and yet them not to be the person they remembered them to be. These events greatly affected me and by doing this photo series I will have a free reign to release some of the emotion in a creative and hopefully inspiring way. This overwhelming event in someone’s life affects mental health and can cause depression, amongst others, for the families and friends of the loved one.
This project was also inspired by two songs from Lucy Spraggan, a UK singer and songwriter that my sister and I are fans of. She writes songs about events that have happened in her life or ones she has witnessed. In her album ‘I hope you don’t mind me writing…’ she wrote a song about mental health titled ‘Dear You’ and one about dementia, titled ‘All That I’ve Loved’ that she dedicated to a woman named Barbara. This song is one that myself along with my sister, mum and dad all appreciate and understand. (Both songs are featured at the bottom of this page).
All That I’ve Loved – Lucy Spraggan
There she sat with her tea in the garden
Didn’t remember why we were arguing
The point had been lost, she forgot where it was
So she told me the story again
She had told me to look in the kitchen
She said some of her things had gone missing
They all had been stored where she kept them before
It was only her mind that had changed
She asked me
“Where do you go when your mind doesn’t work with your soul?
I had memories made, now I can’t put a face to a name.”
“Do you know who I am?
Where did I go? And where have I been?
Do you know who I am?
All that I’ve loved and all that I’ve seen seems to go”
This is one verse of the song that explains the effects of dementia perfectly. It is a very moving song that represents the disease well and helped me with a greater understanding of it.
My mother’s grandfather suffered from this disease and I wanted the photographs to capture the dark nature of it, but yet in a kind of beautiful way. I wanted to tell an emotive story by using blur and long exposures as this will represent the memory loss, stress and heartache. I used gels to give colour to some of the images as I believe this may help capture emotion. I decided to title the project Displacement as it defines this concept well. It means, the action of moving something from its place or position and the removal of someone or something by someone or something else which takes their place. This sums up my projects concept perfectly without me having to explain completely why it does, the word displacement says it all.