My mum died suddenly on September 4th, 2006. After she died, I realized how much she’d been shielding me from my father’s mental state. He doesn’t have Alzheimers, but he has no short-term memory and is often lost.
I’m always amazed at my father’s love for my mum. It’s a constant force, like sunlight or gravity. She was the glue for our little family.
Sometimes, when we’re talking, my dad will stop, and sigh, and close his eyes. It’s then that I know, that he knows. About my mum. About everything.
He would have wanted people to remember that his story is a story about life. My father had no time for growing old. Just last week, on his 99th birthday, I asked him how old he thought he was. Grinning, he said, “22 and a half?”
Next up is a series of classically inspired portraits of people who have recreated themselves through plastic surgery, meant to examine the choices we make as free-willed individuals and the question of beauty – is it determined historically, by the media, or by a surgeon? Looking at the photographs, lovingly rendered on a dark background with pale makeup and pre-Raphaelite props, one has to wonder whether the subjects are revealing their true identities or removing them completely (Angelina Jolie lips and wide-set eyes make everyone look more than a little related).
See here for the complete journal of “Days with My Father,” and here for other fine art and editorial projects by Phillip Toledano, including America the Gift Shop.