Culture / Art Republik

The Waking Hours

Martha Fleming-Ives documents her father’s struggle with depression in a touching photographic series

Jun 12, 2014 | By Staff Writer

Psychology Today says Depression is not just a medical matter. It’s a family one, too. When depression hits an individual, people change, dynamics change and it requires a huge adjustment on everyone’s part. Photographer Martha Fleming-Ives saw this happen when her father fell into a spiral of depression set off by the ‘uncertainty of setting forth into a diminished role’ after 35 years devoted to a life of faith and community leadership. She saw the changes occur within him (‘Once proud and stoic, he became fragile and childlike, almost unrecognizable’) and was determined to be there for him in his time of need. In an honest and intimate series entitled ‘The Waking Hours’, Fleming-Ives captures her father at his most vulnerable and exposed. The photos which exist ‘between the candid and the staged’ show a man struggling with the psychological problems within, and a daughter struggling to understand the new man her father was becoming. 

In an interview with Huffington Post, she explains ‘”My photographs are always attempts to reflect on key moments of transformation in the fabric of feeling and thought that support our lives…Ideally, I suppose in all my pictures I want to convey the deep admiration and love I have for my subjects. However, human relationships are complex — especially among family — I think we can feel love and pride, anger and frustration towards those we are closest, all at the same time. So it is my hope that the images reflect the breadth of those complex emotions we feel in our daily lives.” The intimate portrait of her father’s life is surely a testament to the love and understanding a family can provide in a time of struggle and need. 

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