Days With My Father

days w my fatherDays 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.

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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.fatherPhotos 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.

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3 responses to “Days With My Father

  1. I came across this project one day and immediately loved it. The photos are very touching accompanied by emotional short essays on the side. The photo on each page is emphasized by taking up 2/3 of the space. I like the vertical arrangement because it makes the reading process simpler, cause less distractions so the viewer can be fully absorbed into the project and its emotional power.

  2. I like this site pretty much! Easing white as the background color is a nice choice, since it’s clear, and somehow a little bit sad. And white sometimes also remind me of hospital – Toledano’s father has some memory issues. Because the photos Toledano took were in silver tone, using a black background would be too heavy. So I’d say white is a perfect choice. And the display looks great to me, neat and clear.
    However, I feel like the navigation is a little bit inconvenient. There are three ways to see another picture: 1) hover around the bottom of the photo and then click; 2) use mouse’s roller to scroll; 3) go to the overview on the left.
    I found the first method to be a little bit inconvenient because it takes several seconds to have the next photo show up (a little bit). And the second method is so “secret.” The scroll bar of the browser does not show there’s anything else you can scroll to. But if you accidentally scroll your roller, you will find it.
    But overall, the site really expresses and echoes the idea of the story Toledano tried to interpret. I like it!

  3. I love the story, deep in thinking about the meaning of life. The design is fit for this story, image oriented reading experience like reading a novel without so much words. I think the only design I don’t like is the way how to scroll to next photo. You only can do that by click the text area. I would like to just scroll my mouse.

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