"Spreading awareness about the right to care..."
The right to care for elderly people is an important issue that is close to my heart. This is an issue that will eventually affect all of us, it is striking that this is something not spoken about enough in today’s society.
Right from the beginning, my objectives and intentions concerning this issue have been to highlight the importance of care for the elderly. This is an issue that is not spoken about enough in today’s society, often not brought into public consciousness through representation, and is something that will eventually affect all of us. It is my hope that when people who see my images, they may reflect on this and be motivated to obtain more information on their own and others' Rights regarding home help and home care. In the course of my own research and the development of my photographic approach, I took a long time to consider the ethical aspects of who would be shown in my images. I thought over whether it was right to feature a carer’s face in the final images that I knew would be going on to be seen in public. In the end I decided against it, for the sake of their privacy and with respect to the fact they do not represent or determine the policies and so on that are really the problem. However, among the final photographs, the carer’s hands do feature.
When I first started working on this body of work, I wanted to construct an environmental portrait of an elderly person, but after several shoots and feedback, I decided against this and took a route that led to amore traditional studio type of portrait image. I learned that it was quite difficult to communicate what I wanted regarding the Right to care within the image itself. In the end it took five shoots to obtain my final and used image. I learned a lot from working with two subjects. This was something I had never tried before, so the experience itself was very valuable. The process, the questions and reflection, as well as technical challenges helped me gain a better understanding of my chosen topic. It also had a big affect on me personally, making me more passionate than ever about spreading awareness about the entitlement to care that elderly people should rightfully have.
One of the hardest elements of this project was the actual editing of the photographs. First, there was the initial selection from around 800 photographs taken over a period of 4 or 5 weeks. Of course, these photographs also varied heavily in style and lighting. It was very difficult and something that I learned a lot from. The editing, selection and post-production work, is just as important to me as the final chosen images. The edits and images that are cut from the final selection tell the story and give an insight into the time commitment and dedication needed to maintain consistency in the quality of the final photographs that this project required. Choosing the photograph to hang at IHREC, Dublin, ultimately involved good judgement about the use of text and image, introducing another layer of learning and motivation also.
It is important to pay attention to the Rights due to those of may or may not be able to speak up for themselves or have the sufficient means in which to investigate and demand what they are entitled to and need to live a humane and dignified life to the full. This project was very emotional for me, personally to undertake. The workload itself, while challenging, was not the hard part. In fact the hardest and most challenging element of this project was trying to capture the emotion, frustration, and inner thoughts of my grandmother through the lens. This is something I believe I achieved, but did I become too deeply personally involved. Starting as a college photography project on human rights, it became an obsession to capture the perfect shot; a portrayal of my grandmother, with her struggles and needs represented sufficiently.
I wanted to fairly and justly represent the Rights of older people and make a body of work comprising images that spark something in people; spark a change of perspective and new respect for something that I believe is so fundamental to our society and - even bigger than that - of moral and ethical importance to our evolution as good people on this planet. People in older years have lived their lives, working and contributing, and it is upon our shoulders to respect that and make sure we have the support system in place to make the rest of their lives as comfortable and active as possible.
I would like to thank my grandmother Ann Kernan, who is the subject in my project, for her patience and cooperation. I would also like to thank the carers who helped out during the shoot and gave their time to contribute to something that means alot to me personally.
Malone, B. (2017) Grandmother, Available at: (Accessed:___).
I live and work in Dublin and have a particular interest in the relationship between street photography and contemporary documentary photography. However, I have lately revisited portraiture, working with large format film and this has required me to take a fresh look at something I had become accustomed to doing for many years, which has been a challenging and satisfying experience .