I began photographing my father soon after it became apparent that his cognitive abilities were in serious decline. Lapses in memory, difficulty processing simple information, disorientation, and increased irritability were among the all too familiar early signs we had previously experienced with my grandmother.
I was surprised when my father, normally a reserved and private man, agreed to my documenting his day. I followed him around as he went about his methodical, strict daily schedule. Familiarity, routine, and structure now a necessity.
On days when his mind is particularly clear, I ask about his childhood and he tells me of the rural, mountainous Galician land where he was raised. I ask about polio, which at age 11 left him fully paralyzed, and he recounts being strapped down on horseback to ride 30 miles into town for excruciating electrotherapy treatments. He tells me of his immigration to Cuba as an adolescent and his subsequent exile to the United States as an adult.
The significance of my work hits heavy as I realize it is not only a documentation of the present but moreover a reliving of the past. This process has granted me a vehicle by which to finally understand my father in an attempt to redefine an identity long-held and mend a relationship long-strained.
Morning Walk has been featured in Hylas Magazine and OURS Photography Magazine.
All Prints are 10 X 10 in / 25.4 X 25.4 cm