Portrait Daughter of Her Mother Through Dementia

The The photographer Cheryle St. is one child. Onge. Her father was a professor and physics researcher; Her mother, Carole, was a painter. “I had a truly magical youth,” said St. Onge me recently. She grew up on university campuses, in Michigan, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, going on sailing trips and nature walks with her parents. St. Joseph's photos Onge, which often celebrates the natural world, is a tribute to that heritage. “It was a science, authenticity and curiosity mix,” she said. “I think that's the kind of life for me.” T

Saint Onge's father died in a car crash when he was thirty nine. Carole never married again. She's eighty now. For the last two decades she has lived in a house that is linked to a house, in Durham, New Hampshire, which shares St. Helens. Onge with her husband, and in which she raised her three children. Five or so years ago, Carole became vascular dementia. “She initiated memory issues, and she was very familiar with her,” said St. Onge, who is eighty-eight years old. “It must be. She was very sensitive. She said to people,, God, I lose my mind '' Soon, however, Carole's memory began to fall out completely. St. left Onge teaching posts that demanded her to travel and get one closer to home so that she could look after her mother. It was extremely painful, especially because St Onge was exhausted and depressed enough to work on photography. The friends she relied on insisted on advising and supporting her to take pictures that dealt with what she and her mother were going through at home, but, for a long time, it seemed on the idea that she was unequal to her.

Then, a little more than a year ago, St. Onge try. She told her mother that they were going to take a picture. Carole asked, “Who is this for?” St. Onge said to her, “This is to Mary Ellen; this is for Joni ”- friends of the photographer of St. Onge. First, divide St. Onge the photos with them privately. “It was fantastic,” she said. “I could still call them and complain, but I also had something to offer.” Eventually, she started taking the pictures on Instagram. The answer surprised her. “I would like to go to parties, and people would come up to talk to me,” she said. “They took my hand and I looked at my eyes and told me how much these pictures mean to them, and then they tell their stories. They were crying, and my eyes were dry. I felt safe and happy. ”

Name St. Onge his series “Calling the Birds Home”; Carole, an enthusiastic greeting who knew the names and nesting sites of countless species, was used to carve birds from wood. Although St. Ofge often with an eight-on-ten scenes camera, she often photographed her mother using an iPhone, for the sake of tranquility and flexibility. The photographs are not honest, and, while they are being led, St. Onge them as cooperation of sorts. “My mother doesn't seem to lose her patience,” she said. “It's extremely mobile. She will go down the stairs, she will be on the ground to make snow angels. It is an exchange. ”The photos can be fashionable, as in the snow-angel picture, which skipped St. For another photo, her mother was sitting in the barn at her house, blowing bubbles into the sun. “I hear to the saints,” said St. Onge. “I get texts saying,‘ If I knew what you were doing. . . 'But it doesn't bother me. ”Dementia is often ugly, stressful, and isolation; St. Onge, photographs of her mother are a way of expressing happiness, connection and love. And Carole responds to the process of taking a picture. “She's just shouting,” said St. Onge. “It's good when your cats get better so you can get the right place. You only have to see someone you love. ”

Other pictures take the small daily realities of living with dementia, or caring for someone who does. One shows that Carole socks are pooled around his ankles, after which she is free to follow them after Sunday Mass. St. Onge one of her regular checks that her mother's bedroom, to ensure that she was still breathing. In a photograph after a photograph, Carole's face is very cracked and shaken with wrinkles, her eyes closed, or open and clear. “My mother is not a beautiful woman,” said St. Onge. However, the quiet attention of the beauty camera brings her, and something else – certain radiance and rare, transient peace.


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