When he was five, his daddy was hanged for murder.

When he was six, his mother left him on the steps of the orphanage.

Later, when he was much older, he tried to kill himself…and when it didn’t work the first time…he tried again.

This lost boy became my dad and I was his only child. He was my first love … the man against whom I measured all others. It is only now, eight years after his death that I have come to understand how much my sense of “normal” was colored by my dad’s dysfunctional past.

My childhood was a study in duality. Our relationship was a complex two-step and I was never quite sure who was leading. After his two suicide attempts, the dynamic changed and I became the parent, he became the child.

And the dance began again.

I began this project eight years ago when my father’s death left a raw, open wound. Somehow I knew that over time, the weight of loss would ease, and I would be compelled to revisit…to reassess…and to find the connections between that wounded man-child and the solemn little girl who became his lifeline.

As a photographer, I used to chase “other people’s” stories…that was until I realized that the stories I knew best were the ones already inside me, just waiting to be told.

—K.K. Depaul

Don’t miss the work of
all the other winners and finalists from the LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards 2014. In total, you’ll find 25 powerfully told stories from across the world.

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