A picture speaks a thousand words

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By Louise Martin | Friday 22 November 2013

Ask a photographer what comment they hear the most and you can pretty much guarantee it’s ‘I hate having my photo taken’. Obviously Mario Testino doesn’t have such problems when he’s shooting Kate Moss for Vogue or a picture-perfect portrait of the royal family, but move away from the celebrity world and getting people to look comfortable behind the camera is a whole different undertaking.

Imagery is very important to our work at Alzheimer’s Research UK. Whether it’s a proud fundraiser celebrating an achievement or the face of an innovative campaign, the old adage, a picture speaks a thousand words couldn’t be more true. This is why all the people you will see in our photos are our supporters. Working with people who have first-hand experience of dementia gives our imagery real impact, but the photo shoot also enables those people to meet others who have experience of dementia now or in the past to share experiences.

Here’s a snapshot of some of our supporters who took part in our latest photo shoot, which was held in Champion supporter David Read’s home in London.

Deborah Gatesman with mum Doreen

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Dad didn’t know what was happening to him and Mum was beside herself with worry.

My dad, James, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2003 at the age of 74. It was a two-year struggle before we received the words that no one wants to hear; Dad didn’t know what was happening to him and Mum was beside herself with worry. Dad now lives in a home near Mum where he can receive the specialist care he needs. Alzheimer’s Research UK has helped me focus on what is now important to me – fundraising and raising awareness for dementia research – rather than dwelling on what I have lost. The photo shoot was a lovely day where my mum and I got to spend time with our friends at the charity, meet new people and, most importantly, my mum got the fuss and attention every carer deserves.

Chris Elsley

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It has become a passion of mine to make sure that people who have dementia get a good quality of life.

I joined the care sector in 2006 and it wasn’t long before I started coming across people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. I didn’t know very much about it then and I don’t mind admitting I did find it scary. I’ve found that some people with dementia don’t always get the right care and it has become a passion of mine to make sure that people who have dementia get a good quality of life. I’m a great believer in early diagnosis and that comes from research into dementia; the only way forward is to get behind research.

Alison Carter and mum Leslie Fenn

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There’s still much stigma associated with dementia; Mum and I want to get the conversation going about the subject so people don’t fear it.

Dad used to be a pharmacist with a razor-sharp mind and loved going on long walks. After he was diagnosed with vascular dementia he deteriorated quite rapidly. Sometimes he would go off on a walk and get lost in the once-familiar country lanes. Dad’s condition has changed my family’s world. There’s still much stigma associated with dementia; Mum and I want to get the conversation going about the subject so people don’t fear it. We really enjoyed the photo shoot. Aside from the fun of working with a professional photographer, it was good to have an opportunity to meet other families who live with dementia in a friendly, relaxed environment and to share stories and coping strategies.

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Louise Martin