Days With My Father is a personal photo essay by Phillip Toledano describing his relationship with his 98-year-old father, who lacks short-term memory. The stories and photos began in a blog as Toledo reflected on his father’s aging. Now, in addition to the online photo essay, you can purchase it in hardcover.
The style of the website is simple: a white background, elegant sans-serif black font and compelling photographs. It’s relatively easy to use – if you hover near the bottom of the page and click, the next photograph slides into view. If you hover and click on the left, tiles of each photograph in the gallery appear and you can navigate to any one by clicking.
The story itself is bittersweet. The author’s father is a former movie star, artist, storyteller. The situation is heartbreaking – the father can’t remember that his own wife is dead – he thinks she is in Paris visiting her brother. He spends hours a day in the bathroom because he forgets that he was just there.
But to keep it somewhat light, Toledano sprinkles the essay with funny anecdotes: his father’s morbid jokes, habit of eating nothing but eggs and saying ‘Look at my titties!’ when the author places two cookies on his father’s chest.Photos in the essay include many portraits of the author’s father but also stunning detail shots of his father’s hand and written lists and notes saying things like,
“I want to think seriously about what I can accomplish with what is left of my life.”
The photo sums up Toledo’s project: raw, emotional, uplifting.