You Can Call Me Nana
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A personal yet universal family memoir, this story introduces us to Will’s grandmother, Evelyn, who suffered from dementia in the later years of her life. As her memories eroded, history and fiction collided and a new relationship bloomed; once her grandson, the young photographer became an old friend, creating this work while trying to make sense of a newfound connection and to deal with his own grief. At times both haunting and lighthearted, this book weaves together family archives with altered images, collage, and new photographs including views inside the multi-generational family home in Pennsylvania. Along with some confused and touching conversations with Nana, Will assembles the fragments that went missing from her mind.
With this intimate book, Harris confronts the complexities of coping with his grandmother’s progressive dementia. For Evelyn Beckett, ten years ago was now ten minutes ago. She was both lost and reborn.
As the photographer mined the archive of her life, he deconstructed and reconstructed images in an unconscious collaboration with her. He pieces together their story by working with transcriptions of their conversations along with images of his family home and photographs he intervened with—attempting to draw nearer inside her mind as Nana’s clarity slowly fades away. Like dementia itself, this personal book is nonlinear and at times confusing, but Harris’s gaze on his grandmother’s condition consistently remains tender and subtle.
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