These Close Up Portraits Of Dementia Patients Are Powerful

All images by Marco Grizelj and Kristian Krän from Aorta. Used under Creative Commons License. 

Truly inspiring documentary portraiture work separates itself from typical photography practices by daring to explore varying human living conditions. Some of these may not be visually pleasing or comfortable to look at. The duo of Swedish photographers, Marco Grizelj and Kristian Krän, showcased a powerful photo series of close-up portraits taken of dementia patients.

Dementia, or more popularly known as senilit, stems from a wide category of brain diseases that cause a long term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember great enough to affect a person’s daily functioning. Marco and Kristian captured extreme close-up portraits of dementia patients, purposefully emphasizing the typically blank and blurred expression on their faces. Those expressions may be difficult to look at but they successfully show the differing state of mental degeneration suffered by the patients. 

The patients are dressed in white and shot against a plain, white background to effectively draw the attention toward the patients’ faces. Furthermore, the lighting on the portraits is intentionally slightly overexposed, creating harsher than usual lighting used for portraits. The combination of bright and harsh light on the patient’s naked faces without any make-up accentuates the grey hair and any present wrinkles that tell plenty of stories about these people. Consequently the direct stare from the patients looking straight into the camera is what makes these images so powerful, because behind the eyes of these aged dementia patients are soulful human beings.

You may find more inspirational work by Aorta at their official website here.