Throughout our lives, most of us work hard to stay true to the intangible sense of self we all have. But there are times when this certainty can become rocked and we’re no longer secure in ourselves or even anything around us. These moments are often kept private, and the crisis is isolated to just the sufferer and those closest to them.
However photographer Martha Fleming-Ives has bravely challenged this solitude with her images of her father in her series The Waking Hours, capturing a man at his lowest point. Having been a minister for 35 years Martha’s father spent his life devoted to his faith and leading others to follow him. Six months before his retirement though, he fell into a dark depression and this change in role where a community no longer looked to him for guidance unnerved him deeply. He became almost unrecognisable, returning to a fragile, child-like state.
Martha felt compelled to photograph him as a way of understanding what was happening and to build a new relationship, and the result is powerfully haunting. While some images have been staged and feel more contrived than the natural the ones, I’m still drawn to the series as it captures raw emotions from both the subject and the photographer herself.
This series is beautifully moving and Martha’s sensitivity around this delicate subject matter demonstrates both her skills as a photographer and the deep care she has for her father.