Amber Salik is a New Jersey native and Gallatin junior concentrating in creative and alternative healing with a minor in child and adolescent mental health studies. She has been practicing photography since age 12 and cherishes the art form as a way to express herself. Her biggest source of inspiration is her family and she retains close ties with her mother, older sister, and maternal grandparents. When her grandfather began to exhibit symptoms of dementia, Amber sought to cope with the strain it placed on her family by documenting his struggle. This project was both therapeutic and emotionally straining, as it allowed her to see her grandfather in a new light while also forcing her to accept that he would never be the same.
Gradually, then suddenly
“Gradually, then suddenly”is a photography project documenting my 85-year-old grandfather’s experience with dementia. A few years ago, my Pop-Pop began to lose his memory. It started with small lapses that we initially attributed to old age, yet he soon began to forget conversations, names of loved ones, and even how to get home. I developed this project to help me cope with the diagnosis and the gradual loss of my grandfather as I knew him, while allowing me to be present and available to him as he experiences these drastic changes within himself. Together, we will ride the fleeting highs and the numerous lows that come with dementia by depicting this intimate experience with a life-changing disease.