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Yann Castanier

Papy, mamie et Alzheimer

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I'm taking in pictures my grand-parents since 2008. My grand-father was diagnosed with the alzheimer disease when I was 8. I didn't get the chance to really know him and I wanted to know who he was as he was disapearing. At the age of 22, I started to take him in picture as he was in a retirement house for dependent people. I did his portrait and, in the meantime, took shots of my grand-mother trying to stay in touch with him, struggling daily against the disease which dismantled the bonds between them. I took these pictures in a harsh black and white to emphasize my grand-father's locked-up in the past. In the same time, i took pictures of my grand-mother, alone, at his home. The present was colorful and pastel. My grand-father died in 2010.

Unfortunately, my grand-mother was diagnosed with a frontotemporal dementia, a disease related to Alzheimer, in 2015. She is unable to dress up, cook or walk. Before her treatment, she had hallucinations. As she has to be under surveillance 24/7, we had to put her in a retirement house too. I grabbed back my camera and i have been taking her in picture for 3 years now. I use perished color film to emphasize her alteration of perception of reality. She is still alive and my work is going on.

This is the story of my grand-father, my grand-mother and Alzheimer.