February 24, 2011 Neville Godwin

A Personal Photography Project: ‘From behind the mask’ photographing Alzheimer’s

Photographing Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a cruel, cruel disease. You can find out more about it here. With no visual clues, you basically watch the person disappear from within, gradually replaced by a childlike other self. This is what I’ve witnessed over the past decade with my father. He’s a fighter, most sufferers last less than 5 years, dad’ has had alzheimer’s for over ten years, so you have to be grateful in some way. The moment he doesn’t recognise his own home, his son… still hurt even though you know they’re coming. It’s the inevitability of it all… like a truck rolling down a hill, your just waiting for the crash..

As my father’s alzheimer’s has worsened, I’ve wanted to take a set of photographs to try to capture the moment, the brief moment when my dad pops out from behind the mask of Alzheimer’s. Not necessarily to take beautiful pictures but to see if I can wind back time, capture a glimpse of the past and his struggle with the disease. Funnily I think I’ve got all those things!

As a note it is very difficult to shoot someone who keeps forgetting where he is and why he’s there!

They’re going to be printed and framed slightly larger than life-size. The colour image is stand alone with the black and white forming a set called ‘Alzheimer’s: From Behind The Mask’

Anyway, tell me what you think, I’d be interested to hear?

Colour portrait of Reginald Godwin

Colour portrait of Reginald Godwin

‘From Behind The Mask’ Image 1 of 4

‘Alzheimer’s: From Behind The Mask’ Image 1 of 4

<img class="size-full wp-image-290 aligncenter" title="Dad_Photoshoot-9085(B-W)600px" src="https://ngdagency.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/dad_photoshoot-9085b-w600px1.jpg" alt="‘From Behind The Mask’ Image 2 of 4" width="406" height="609" srcset="http://www.ngdagency learn the facts here now.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/dad_photoshoot-9085b-w600px1.jpg 600w, https://www.ngdagency.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/dad_photoshoot-9085b-w600px1-200×300.jpg 200w” sizes=”(max-width: 406px) 100vw, 406px” />

‘Alzheimer’s: From Behind The Mask’ Image 2 of 4


‘From Behind The Mask’ Image 3 of 4

‘Alzheimer’s: From Behind The Mask’ Image 3 of 4



‘From Behind The Mask’ Image 4 of 4

‘Alzheimer’s: From Behind The Mask’ Image 4 of 4


As a note, my father deteriorated suddenly a few days after this shoot and had to be placed in full time care.

That person who was at the shoot has changed yet again. Photography really does capture fleeting moments.

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Comments (7)

  1. Vic

    These are fantastic, emotive images. I love the expressions you’ve managed to capture. I especially love Image 3 from Behind the Mask – the skin texture, the hand in the frame, but most of all, how much can be read from the expression. With best wishes to you both x

  2. T. Sebastiano

    Hi Neville

    I stumbled upon you blog and was curiously reading. It was not my intension to contact you but after seeing these fantastic photographs of you dad I felt I should. I have very little personal experience of this cruel illness but I am aware of how it’s suffers personality slowly disappear over time. It’s probably not much to say but I think that you have captured this moment in time beautifully.

    Tom Sebastiano

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