HERE WE ARE: Living with Dementia - Gallery Launch

HERE WE ARE, Living with Dementia
Photo Documentary through a nurse’s lens.
By Saul Vara Martinez

“It was back in 2013 when I landed in London from my natal Spain to start a new experience abroad. I was about to start my first job in the UK, in the dementia unit of a nursing home somewhere in South-East London. In the middle of all those nerves, uncertainties and language barriers going on I was completely ignorant about the unique and special world I was about to enter.

Rather soon I started to feel embraced by such a humane and singular atmosphere. It was very clear that it was them, our residents, who made it so unique and special, because that’s what they were. Human beings that offered me more that I could give them. I could see their feelings and emotions, and could see how they expressed them in their own particular manner. Their gestures, behaviours and above all, their eyes could not lie. Listening to their stories and discovering new details all the time about who they were and the life they led; it was really wonderful.

As an amateur photographer I decided to use this powerful medium to tell you a little bit about dementia and some amazing stories behind it. This is also my humble tribute to the protagonists of this project, for what they gave me, and to all the people that are living with dementia, without forgetting their families and friends who accompany them in their journey.

This project also pursues to condemn the stigma attached to dementia and the isolation that these people sadly suffer by society and sometimes their own families. I wanted to spread the idea that it is a condition that should be accepted and normalized, by focusing on the human being that is behind it. A human being that feels, suffers, worries, despairs, gets hungry or tired, cries, gets angry when something or somebody disturbs them; a human being that smiles, enjoys, laughs, plays… In summary, human beings who are alive and willing to live their life full of love, peace and happiness as anyone else (although they may not have the capacity to express so as such). As anyone else they all have a past, a present and a future. And that is exactly our responsibility as society, to make the present and future of these vulnerable people as positive as possible.” - Saul Vara Martinez.

All photos are taken under full informed consent by protagonists’ relatives.

This project also aims to raise some funds for the Alzheimer’s Society which performs an amazing job, supporting many people diagnosed with dementia and their families while working hard towards a cure.

Launch event: Sat 25th Nov, 12pm - 6pm
Free entry, but with suggested donation of £5.

Exhibition runs Upstairs: Tuesday 21st November to 3rd December

Visit: Upstairs Facebook Page

Please note: After 8pm, the Upstairs bar is for over 18's only.

Club and Group screenings

Sat 25th Nov 12.00 Free Event. Upstairs at the Ritzy.

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