Stephen Shaw currently studied a Masters in photography at central Lancashire University in the UK, where His projects documented viruses in society along with different people suffering from dementia and their long term effects.
I started the project through exploring viral disease and it’s stifling effects in society particularly how dementia over the past 3 years I feel has risen because of this. I feel this disease has become drastically worse over this 3 year time period. I am researching to raise questions about how and why certain diseases are more prominent in contemporary society in our era, and how society acts within their constraints.
It is a personal documentary following the lives of two groups of people. A man called Fred who has been moved to a care home and a woman called Margaret. They have both been in terminal decline with dementia. Fred has been committed due to his worsening state and Margaret is looked after by her son and palliative care nurses.
My project is called Last Stops and is based in a care home with Fred and a residential home within palliative care with Margaret and her late son Steve who cares for her. It is a touching story that has worsened sadly as the son has just recently passed away in a tragic accident leaving the mother on her own in the care home.
I self published a photo book last year, which has suddenly changed context since Margaret’s sons passing and has an eerie foretelling through the change of context and the images symbolism and text around this passing.
The photographs are brought to life using traditional Haiku poetry that was constructed with the mother and sons own ideas alongside my own within a regular team effort.
The mother is now in care and struggles to remember her son on and off from one day to the next.
I frequently use the book as a memory tool that now brings relief and happiness to Margaret helping her through these hard times.
The house where they once lived is now up for sale and I will visit it one last time tomorrow, Thursday 12/10/2017, to get a photograph of Steve’s ashes inside the property before the new owners move in.
I am carrying on the project with Margaret and Fred at the care homes as long as time and logistics allow, trying to make their stay as comfortable as possible and spread there story to help other sufferers of this terrible disease in any way possible.