About a decade ago, my parents divorced following a very rocky road in our family history, leaving my father starting a new chapter in his life, alone.
Through the years my father slowly but surely recreated his life around a new purpose. After having his wife leave with another man and starting a fresh, and his kids finding their respective purposes in the early years of adulthood, dad chose his own path. He started drinking discreetly as to hide his habit. I started noticing an empty shot glass in the sink just before he made his way to work everyday. Slowly his attitude to life started to shift to something more derelict. We were three hormonal kids in the house still attending high school living with an alcoholic dad and a mom living halfway across the world starting a life with a man that finally made her happy.
Before his recent retirement, dad was a work centred man and spent most of his time dedicating himself to it. When he came home, his insecurities overpowered his willingness to be a present, caring father. He drank. He drank too much. He drank so much that he started trying to convince us and himself that drinking whiskey made him smarter and gave him an edge in a discussion. He would get absurdly angry and tell us things kids should never hear from their father. With time and maturity, I started to understand that my father wasn't a just being an asshole. My father was so unwell, he made a decision that nothing mattered in his life anymore if he had lost what he had worked so hard to get. The alcohol fossilised his destructive reaction to having his world fall apart. I stopped being angry at him and starting feeling extremely sad for him. I started feeling a strong sense of responsibility after seeing him day by day destroying everything else left in his life.
Today, my father is retired and lives alone in his house in France, he drinks about a litre of whiskey a day along with a bottle of wine. He is showing obvious signs of dementia making it very difficult for him to understand social barriers and 'rules' or remembering what happened the day before, whilst he gets used to being retired. Being around my father means having to put up with sporadic anger, disappointment and constantly reminding him what happened previously all whilst seeing him struggling to keep grasp of reality.
Which leads me to the reason I am here asking for funding.
I have built a career in Photojournalism and I have left my father to go live and work in South Africa to pursue my photographic passion. I have been working for an international news agency in a freelance capacity for the last 2.5 years and have found myself wanting to explore a world that has been so conflicting, saddening and close to me. The Story of my father's alcoholism.
I am looking for funding to pay for travel and living costs to allow me to go back to France and document the daily life of my retired, divorced alcoholic father living alone and going through dementia. I am hoping to create a photographic body of work which will tackle a very common personal social issues in the hopes of answering some questions and tying some loose ends for me to be at peace with the history of my decomposed and recomposed family in a documentary photography medium.