Grandfather’s suitcase

My grandfather gave a box of random negatives and films. Some of them maybe 50 years old. Perhaps nobody even saw them for such a long time. They got damaged by at least one old battery leaking into them. I had to cut out the the etched bits and bits that got stuck together – professional restorers would not be happy I guess. Then I had to wash, dry and scan all of them…

© Adam Kencki, from the series "Grandfather's suitcase"

© Adam Kencki, from the series “Grandfather’s suitcase”

My grandmother started to loose her memory. When I visited her recently she asked my grandfather the same things during couple of minutes. Things that happened long time ago are easy for her to recall but her short-term memory is getting weaker and weaker. She forgets words, sometimes it´s hard for her to put a sentence together. She feels ashamed of that and prefers not to speak. Her mother, my grandgrandmother suffered from similar illness. I remember being maybe four years old standing by her bed, my younger sister next to me – we also have it videotaped. „Stand by your grandma“ my father says. I can´t recall her face but I can recognize her from photos. I remember the strange smell of her room though. „How much are they paying you here?“ She asked shortly before her death her daughter, my grandmother.

 

© Adam Kencki, from the series "Grandfather's suitcase"

© Adam Kencki, from the series “Grandfather’s suitcase”

© Adam Kencki, from the series "Grandfather's suitcase"

© Adam Kencki, from the series “Grandfather’s suitcase”

I fear she might also ask me this question one day. It´s strange. My grandfather wanted to throw the box of negatives away. He would voluntarily give away the memories on a life with my grandmother even though she started to loose those memories unwillingly. Would he through away those negatives on purpose? How would she react by looking on the photo if she knew it´s her and her family but she would not be able to recognize anyone else? Could getting rid of those negatives work as some kind of a protection? Most of those photos were captured by my grandfather or his relatives but there are some taken by my grandmother. Those are the most precious to me.”  

 

© Adam Kencki, from the series "Grandfather's suitcase"

© Adam Kencki, from the series “Grandfather’s suitcase”

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Adam Kencki

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