With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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Marshall Clarke’s photographs have appeared in Photographer’s Forum and the Photo Review. He lives in Butler, Maryland.
Over the course of two years I photographed my grandmother Marjorie Clarke on my weekly visits to her home in rural Butler, Maryland. With her health declining and Alzheimer’s disease loosening her ties to everyday reality, I spent much of my time reading aloud or singing songs to her, attempting to hold her attention as long as possible.
During a service at a local church, Marjorie closes her eyes and tries to sleep.
Once an accomplished self-taught pianist, Marjorie plays “Chopsticks,” the only song she remembers.
As her Alzheimer’s disease progressed, Marjorie often forgot what she was doing. Here she contemplates her next step as Sam, her nurse, calls the pharmacy for medicines.
Marjorie is shown the cake for her eldest son’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.
Unable to walk, Marjorie is moved downstairs in her home. She sleeps under a portrait, painted by her husband, of herself at twenty-four.
On an afternoon visit, Marjorie’s daughter Mary Virginia sings familiar songs and comforts her mother.
The photographer’s grandmother in front of her living-room window.