A Photographer’s Poignant Portraits Of Her Aging Parents

Few find it easy to watch parents age. Wrinkles and walkers become unwanted reminders of time’s passing, and playing caretaker to your former caretakers can be surreal. Many of us just try not to think about it. But London-based photographer Lydia Goldblatt doesn’t shy away.

In her series Still Here, Goldblatt captures the quietly heartbreaking process with poignant shots of her aging parents in their London house. Her mother is a Jewish exile from Nazi Germany, and her father, Ted, a psychoanalyst, died last year at age 94. Goldblatt turns their everyday activities into visual poetry with shots of her mother taking a bath and her father slumped at the breakfast table. They are lit as dramatically as Caravaggio paintings.

Extreme close-ups turn their bodies into abstract landscapes–in “Hinterland,” the hairs on her father’s balding head could be weeds in a dark field. The curled body of a dead bee, which might seem like no big deal if you spotted it on your windowsill, takes on a deep melancholy when seen through Goldblatt’s lens, juxtaposed with her studies of aging human bodies. Perhaps most powerful about these photographs, though, is how they capture Goldblatt’s love for her parents.

Goldblatt, whose photography often appears in the London Telegraph and the Guardian, has said that she is interested in “the collapsing and suspension of time that occurs in the realization of our short span within it…. Time can speed up, rush towards conclusions, yet equally stop, languid and glittering with stillness,” she writes.

Still Here is available from Hatje Cantz for $37 here.