Love Loss Laughter
Love, Loss, and Laughter: Seeing Alzheimer’s Differently (Photo Exhibition)
The New York exhibition of 85 photographs of families and caregivers worldwide dealing withpeople who have Alzheimer’s in ways that maximize their strengths and humanity
In 2001, Cathy Greenblat, PhD, stepped down as a tenured professor of sociology at Rutgers University to embark on a second career combining her background in sociology with photography. Over the next decade, she traveled the world to document with a social scientist’s keen eye the stories of people from different walks of life who are living more richly than stereotypes imply with dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.
The people Greenblat photographed all are receiving an emerging kind of care that treats the person, not just the “patient.” Her compelling, compassionate photographs reveal that such care encourages people with Alzheimer’s to sustain connections to others, and to their own past lives, at a far higher level than is generally believed possible. Greenblat, who lost her maternal grandparents and mother to Alzheimer’s, captures moments of joy as well as sorrow, and shows that people with Alzheimer’s who are treated as whole human beings in positive environments can still give and receive great love, and share moments of hearty laughter.
The results of Greenblat’s pioneering cross-cultural photographic study are gathered in an important new book: Love, Loss, and Laughter: Seeing Alzheimer’s Differently (Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot, March 14, 2012), photographs and text by Cathy Greenblat, foreword by Princess Yasmin Aga Khan. The book is a companion to exhibitions that have been touring for the past year to prestigious venues in locations including Washington, D.C., Glasgow, Toronto, Nice, Madrid, Salamanca, and 12 cities in India.