Location: Schwanewede, Lower Saxony, Germany
"Every 65 seconds, a new brain develops Alzheimer’s" (Bob and Diane Fund)
This series tells the life of Fritz Dressler (1937-2020), a landscape and travel photographer who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease during the last years of his life. Dressler was formerly a Professor of Photography and »Moving Images« at the University of the Arts in Bremen, Germany. Before the onset of his dementia, Dressler resided in the artist village of Worpswede for more than 40 years. He was known for his influential and creative personality.
In my free work, which began in September 2016, I am completely committed to the emotional reality of the charismatic protagonist: his intensity, vulnerability and resilience define the portraits of his soul.
Alzheimer’s is one of the great health challenges of our timey. This story gives the affected protagonist a voice. Inspired by the lecture of „Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out“ by Richard Taylor, the first Alzheimer’s activist who was affected himself, and by the writings of Michael Schmieder, one of the most influential dementia pioneers and ethical experts in Germany and Switzerland, it is my ambition to spark a compassionate dialogue in society about issues concerning more respect, participation and empowerment towards people affected with Alzheimer’s and dementia. By the time Fritz and me met, he was no longer able to call his illness by its name, but could only resignedly acknowledge, »Actually, I don’t know anything anymore.« But his self-awareness – as someone who saw himself as an artist and thus preserved his presence – was still very much alive: »I am not dead, I’m still walking!«