Robert Larson: Grandma and Grandpa
I met my friend Robert Larson many years ago, when he was working as a newspaper photographer, learning his craft and thinking about a future as a documentary photographer. In subsequent years, he traveled the world, volunteering abroad with non-profit organizations such as Mercy Ships, The Red Cross and J/P HRO. But it wasn’t until after documenting the death of his grandfather in 2009, that he decided to focus on photographic essays and story telling – rather than single images. Today, Lenscratch features his project, Grandma and Grandpa.
Robert was born in Dallas, Texas and was then adopted by a wonderful family in Los Angeles, California. On January 12th 2010, he began a personal project called Waiting for Haiti with the goal of persistently documenting Haitian society. Though it was initially a self funded project, Waiting for Haiti has now received multiple grants and is on track to become a life long pursuit.
In 2005, I enrolled in a basic photography class completely unaware that taking pictures would soon become a passion. I had just graduated high school and moved into my Grandparents house in order to keep an eye out and help with daily tasks. In the beginning, I photographed my Grandparents simply out of love, and because they were extremely patient subjects.
Shortly after moving in with them, their lives began to rapidly change. Grandma fell more frequently as her dementia progressed; Grandpa started having minor strokes. Eventually, a large stroke took his ability to walk, but more importantly, it took his ability to take care of Grandma. The decision was made to move them into an assisted living home. Although it was a difficult transition, they were grateful to be together and live only a few blocks away from their house.
As their minds and bodies aged, the mood of the images changed as well. Grandpa was my best friend, and Grandma had always been like a fairy godmother. As time went on, the pictures became more meaningful, and the camera began shielding me from the difficult realities of life. I was becoming more and more aware of the inevitable.
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