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2019 Annual Conference


March 07-10, 2019

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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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Victoria Ridgway

SPE Member since 2014
Member Chapter: Midwest

It's All In Your Head

In 2006, Feba Ridgway, my paternal grandmother, began slipping away. She began forgetting things, like looking before crossing the road and what the date was. Though these were small missteps, they began to grow into bigger problems and overtime my family became very concerned about her mental state. With each passing year and new symptom, we would express our worries to her healthcare providers. Those concerns were ignored and dismissed as a complication of old age. In 2014, and after ten years of questioning, she was finally diagnosed with stage five (of seven) Alzheimer's dementia. Not long after her illness was finally recognized, she was sadly lost to complications of the disease.

The installation of this work is a timeline of the last ten years of my Grandmother's life. Beginning with a "Public Service Announcement," I am questioning the assumptions of her medical professionals and the misconception that dementia is a normal age related disease. Starting from her first symptom and ending with her unfortunate passing, the images and timeline correlate with the Mayo Clinic's definition and symptoms of Alzheimer's dementia.

I have created this particular set of images to explore her deteriorating mental psyche. Using a larger square frame and a smaller circular window, I am recreating scenes of her illness and quoting related conversations from her, my family, and medical professionals. Much like the aperture of my camera, the window demonstrates the constant flexing of her perception and subtle loss of reality. Pushing the limits of depth-of-field and film photography, each scene establishes an altered reality which uses found objects to disturbingly animate and illustrate each of her dementia symptoms.

2006 : Misinterpretation of Space and Distance

2007 : Changes in Behavior: Anxiety

2007 : Changes in Behavior: Anxiety

2008 : Difficulty with Thinking and Reasoning

2009 : Memory Loss: Forgetting Names

2010 : Difficulty with Decisions

2012 : Memory Loss: Forgetting Conversations and Events

2013 : Changes in Behavior: Aggressiveness and Loss of Inhibitions

2013 : Changes in Behavior: Aggressiveness and Loss of Inhibitions

2014 : Delusions

2015 : Complications: Congestive Heart Failure

2015 : Complications: Congestive Heart Failure


Installation : Detail

Installation : Detail

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