Stories Research: Phillip Toledano

Days With My Father is a photo book by Philip Toledano, who captured life looking after his 97 year old father who was ill with dementia. The images are quite dark and haunting, and highlight what it’s like for somebody to live at this age with an illness eating away at them.

Toledano had to look after his father when his mother passed away, and he soon found that his mother had hidden the extent of his father’s illness. He started a blog documenting changes in his father’s condition, with accompanying photos. He then put these images together into a photo book when his father died. It is a powerful series of photos and really makes you think.

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These images are powerful because of their darkness and use of high contrast. I feel he used a speedlight which he bounced off of available surfaces when taking these images, twinned with a small aperture as to achieve a shallow depth of field. It also seems the lighting in the home is tungsten lighting.

Although I won’t be closely working with people going through things like this, I could use this kind of lighting to highlight the harsh side of what the people at The Brandon Trust are there for: old age and disability. It’s not all happy at a place like this, as I portrayed at the Christmas fayre, so to fully tell the story I will need to show the images in different forms.

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