When I was at University my class took a trip to New York and we met some successful, amazing photographers. One of those photographers was Phillip Toledano - A british born portrait photographer who has now moved to the states. When chatting to Phillip we were introduced to his then newly finished book, 'days with my father' This book is a journal of Phillip's experiences with his elderly father in the last few years of his life and is a compassionate, beautiful and sincere photographic journal. This book means a lot to me as at the time of meeting Phillip my grandfather had recently passed away and I had seen him for the last time a month before when I took the only photographs I've ever taken of him in the hospital ward he was staying on. See Below:
Another reason that this book has such an important impact on me is that I have worked with the elderly in a care home for those with dementia and I completely understand and can relate to the images and the writing in 'days with my father' and understand just how upsetting it can be for family members to come to terms with their relatives condition. It is very hard to re-understand a person as their personality changes and they very often forget who you are or where they are and it can be completely devastating to witness. Working in that environment has taught me to live life to the full and to love unconditionally and make the most of the people who are important in your life, no matter how far away they live or what mistakes they may have made in life. Family should be the most important part of everyone's lives no matter how big or small. So this is a shout out and a wake up call in one post. Phone the people you love and let them know how important they are to you, they wont be around for ever.
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