Monday, 28 May 2012

Nan's house

Here are some photos I took recently, trying to tell a story about my nan.

Recently my nan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. So far, it mostly affects her short-term memory: she can't remember if she's eaten, or what the last sentence she just read was about. Her longer term memory is largely intact. She knows she's been diagnosed, still remembers who everyone is, and what her past is. 

As she was always quite a reserved woman, and as I grew up in a different country from her, I've been keen to hear more about what kind of life she's had and what she's seen in her time. She's travelled a lot and like most people her age lived through tough times.

But the stories are harder to get to than I first realised: she forgets what she's talking about mid-sentence, trails off, gets confused and lost. Trying to talk about the past seems quite uncomfortable for her. In effect, it feels like these memories are trapped inside her.

The memory held in her muscles however is still strong. Her motor skills are very much intact, in fact she powers through her routine of daily household chores with enormous strength.

Her house is immaculately ordered, everything has its place. If you are foolish enough to leave a half-drunk cup of tea lying around, it'll be washed, dried and put away in a snap.

This is my documentation of a place rife with memories, and my attempts to trace and decode the map of knick-knacks and souvenirs that make up the story of a life lived.

To be honest the pictures came out very grainy, and though they sort of add to the idea of haziness and vagueness I think I might try to re-shoot some of these next time I go to visit her. 


  1. Powerful work. I particularly like the box map room. The way the light goes from bright to dark seems like a strong metaphor for the entire piece.

    1. Thanks Sam, i hadn't thought of it that way but you're right, it does work.