My mother, Marie-Louise Snowball was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in September of 2013. In an appointment with my mother's neurologist, it was proposed by the doctor that she would probably only have four years left to live. In documenting my mother’s progression through this disease, I am attempting to understand personal and collective conflicts with death, identity, pain, illness, loss, and depression that circulate within the context of family structures. It is a lifetime of neglect, abuse, and unhappiness surrounding my mother’s illnesses which have led me to envision this project on a much larger, emotional scale – one of which is an ongoing pursuit to discuss issues of illness and conflict within family structures. In the style of documentary photography, I have captured images and videos of my mother within her everyday, home environment. I have chosen to title this work Half of One and Six of the Other, which my mother said while describing her circumstance. This was a misspoken variation of the saying "Six of one, half a dozen of the other". In this work, I have sought to bring awareness to the deterioration of the body by revealing my mother's daily struggles. I have also incorporated myself into the images to allude to personal narratives and histories in Louise’s life that have become increasingly transient as her memory begins to fade. By including myself in the images, it is implied that illness is not a singular phenomenon but a collective experience affecting all members of a family unit. In addition, I have also produced a video that was shot in Louise’s home that utilizes multiple voice over narratives of her discussing the experience of living with Alzheimer’s disease. The voice over audio provides a greater understanding of Louise’s personal struggles with illness, specifically how it impacts her sense of self-identity.
“I used to think I couldn't lose anyone if I photographed them enough... In fact, they show me how much I've lost.” - Nan Goldin