There are not many photo series about Alzheimer's. The reason seems obvious. This is a disease that is first and foremost about language. That's what makes it so frightening: Alzheimer's attacks its victim's cognitive and intellectual faculties, starting with the ability to communicate.
Granser's portraits nonetheless manifest a breathtaking immediacy. It is almost impossible to escape the fascination of these faces, to resist getting caught up in contemplating the life stories they represent.
There are few portrait series by contemporary photographers in which the protagonists are granted so much dignity and so much authority. It is true that, at the moment the shutter closes, Granser knows much more about what is going on than his subjects. He does control a situation that they do not comprehend. But what is the alternative? When journalists and literary figures write about Alzheimer's patients, they are operating on the basis of a much more blatant incongruity. The author exercises the full range of his language skills to express himself, to make his points - whereas the patient by contrast seems to be an inferior being, because he has veered away from the world of language.
Granser does not promise us a comprehensive panorama. His series does not claim to constitute a scientific study. Cautiously, soberly and optimistically, the pictures embark on a dialogue, directing our gaze toward faces and gestures that no one would have otherwise taken the time to observe. Overstatement is not Granser's métier. Once again: this is only one story about the traces that Alzheimer's leaves behind. It's about loss. It's about dignity. And about the radiant contradictions in the human face.
- Extract from the essay „Where I did lodge last night" by Christoph Ribbat.
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