Cruel and Tender

Cruel and Tender… sounds almost like the last time I went home to see my dying Nan. Cruel because I knew I had come home to say goodbye. Tender because she had no idea she was dying.

Ageing is a terrible thing. Not because of the wrinkles and fragility of the body as it ages but because of the scary thought that time is running out. One may cease to exist at a moment’s notice or not even that.

The cruelty happens not when the departed are gone. It takes place slowly and painfully everyday for all of those who are left behind attempting to carry on with the lives once the dreaded events have taken place.

What has this got to do with my assignment? I have decided to photograph the dying, the ageing, the ones who have lived so much yet their brains have given up and they live day-by-day without any idea of who those occasional visitors are.

Their faces might look familiar but dementia sufferers aren’t capable of reaching far enough into their memories to recognise those visitors who are in fact their loved ones.

Is there anything more cruel that looking at someone knowing full well they have no recollection of you? The tender part is our own reaction when placed in that situation. We need to be strong, yet kind, tender and above all loving.

Yes, for the Cruel and Tender Assignment I am photographing the dying, the dead and/or their space.

A Poem for The Queen Bee

My memory of you will stay,
I will love you to my dying day,
The heart of my passion, in you, it lies,
We all miss you desperately, that’s why we cry.

In memory of my grandmother who passed away on 9th January 2017.


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