Photographer Christopher Nunn first met David, the subject of these images, in 2004 when he was still working in a supermarket. “He was an eccentric person and I was always intrigued by him,” Nunn said.
Nunn had photographed him on and off over the years, but it was only in 2009 that he noticed David’s behavior changing. “I eventually learnt that he had Alzheimer’s,” he said. “The photographs I made were during David’s last years of independence in his own home.”
The work has now been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Bob & Diane Fund, a organization dedicated to promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. “The visual stories of patients and caregivers can humanize what is, in fact, a very cruel and dehumanizing disease,” said Gina Martin, who launched the fund after her mother succumbed to Alzheimer’s after a five-year battle. “My hope is that the work funded today and in the future will have a profound and lasting effect on people, persuading them to support and advocate for a cure.”
The winning photographs were selected by a panel of jurors that included the director of photography at National Geographic, Sarah Leen, Getty Images photographer Chip Somodevilla, and AARP Media’s Michael Wichita.
“This work is more poetry than prose,” Somodevilla said. “I think he has a lot of excellent images that are very evocative of loneliness, of either voluntary or involuntary solitude. It takes a very patient, very talented and very observant photographer to not only see it but make it compelling.”
Nunn felt it was important to show the effect of Alzheimer’s from the point of view of someone who lived alone with very few friends to help him. “David had lived an incredible, productive and full life, and I slowly watched all this disappear,” he said.
More on In Sight:
In Sight is The Washington Post photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.