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Every 71 Seconds – Memories of Alzheimer’s

Take a journey up the Hudson River to dear Poughkeepsie, and drive to 45 Pershing Avenue, home of the Mill Street Loft, an upstate New York Gallery.  From now through July 31st, the Mill Street Loft presents a photo essay by Michele Muir, “Every 71 Seconds – Memories of Alzheimer’s” featuring victims of Alzheimer’s.  

Michele Muir’s 90-year-old father has Alzheimer’s.  As a professional photographer, Muir had a multitude of snapshots chronicling her father’s life.  While perusing her photos, she literally saw how her father had declined through the years, inspiring her to create a photo essay capturing the influence of Alzheimer’s.

Muir’s black-and-white photo essay, depicts the lives and stories of eight individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.  The photos give Alzheimer’s patients around the world a voice, allowing the viewer to peer into their daily experience.  Her use of black-and-white photography further brings the viewer into the world of the Alzheimer patient, taking them back to the days of old-fashioned photography, where black-and-white snapshots documented the world.  Muir’s emotional touches are noted beyond her choice of color, for Todd Poteet, director of the Art Institute of the Mill Street Loft, explained to the Poughkeepsie Journal that, “the insight is a rare opportunity to look inside the disease and see the humanism and emotion tied to it.” 

In an interview with the Poughkeepsie Journal, Muir admitted that, “Sometimes it was heartbreaking, but sometimes it was encouraging to see that people in this state of being are interested in talking about what they have…Many have embraced it, even if they are frustrated, and are using it as an energy source to help others.”  

The photo essay, which she considers a work in progress is undoubtedly a touching project, inspired by the same sentiments of love and heartache which inspired me to create the film, “The Isle of Capri – A Story of My Mother.”  For more information on the photo gallery, please visit www.millstreetloft.org, or call the Mill Street Loft at 845-471-7477.

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