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Pearl is an environmental portrait of my mother-in-law who passed away in December 2009 at the age of 89 and my father-in-law Donald who died in April 2011 at the age of 90. For twenty years Pearl was a central focus in an ongoing project about my husband’s extended family in Eastern Pennsylvania. In 2006 my lens turned specifically on my in-laws.

Pearl suffered from a form of dementia. For several years she had slowly been losing her long and short-term memory. Her husband Donald was her primary caregiver. Six months before her death, Pearl and Donald celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.

After Pearl’s death Donald grappled to find a sense of purpose. He passed away 16 months later, 33 days after his 90th birthday.

My photographs reflect Pearl’s relationship to self, her husband, and her ever-shrinking world perspective. These photographs act as metaphor, capturing and preserving moments. They ponder Pearl’s recurrent struggles with time, distance and continuity.

These interrelated images complement Pearl's ongoing search for the connection between one moment to the next. Focusing on the social and psychological life of my subjects, my photographs address universal issues about aging, identity, and relationship to loss.

kmarshall

About the Author

Karen Marshall
kmarshall New York, NY

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