Joanna Ornowska – Dorothy
“Camera is my passport to negotiate a meeting and beauty became my currency to communicate a story. I believe that simplicity of my images allows for an expression of human intimacy without overt exhibitionism or exploitation. My photographs are personal, but also anonymous and distant, they can be part of history for each and any one of us. I’m curious about the role of photography in documenting and creating our identity. In my current project I explore the subject of memory, time and forgetting through getting to know people suffering from memory degenerative diseases. I wish that people who see my work would trust their feelings and then the programmed and literary approach and response could disappear from photography and its interpretation.
Man is susceptible to beauty – the beauty in art, beauty of nature, the beauty in another person. How many times we are faced with a work that delights – choice of colours, play of light, conceptual approach to the subject… One would like to saturate eyes and hearts strong enough to retain some images longer in our memory. Spreading tree standing alone in the middle of a meadow, quietness of the evening by the lake with almost unsurpassed surface of the water and reeds reflecting in the water as in a mirror, the field of golden sheaves of grain or full of delightful orange pumpkins. And man, engaging with its simplicity, eye gaze, friendly gesture, warm word – the beauty not so much external as internal: attracting with a good heart. Man is also susceptible to good and hungry for good – the pleasing view of a child full of joy chasing a ball, touching image of the father leading his son by the hand, unforgettable eyes of elderly lady with kindness and gratitude looking at the person who came to visit …
It has been a rich life. Born in Pontefract, in 1933, Dorothy is the youngest of a large family. Some people called her Little Dolly Daydream, but she was a lot more sensitive and deep thinking than anyone gave her credit for. Her dad, who was a coal miner, died when she was a baby. When she was 5 the whole family moved to Birmingham, where she continued her education. Although she got the place at Art College, she chose to go with her best friend to Derbyshire in order to become a teacher. She met Don when she was 16 and married him in 1955 on New Year’s Eve. Together with their children, they were helping and supporting each other throughout many years. After the initial devastation of losing Don in 2008, she rebuilt her life as a widow. She lives now on her own in a small bungalow in Rugby. She is a most talented and capable woman, her mind is filled with knowledge and experience. Dorothy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. What will happen to that talent, to that mind? Where will be the memory of that life? The story of Dorothy is the inspiration for this project. I started to photograph Dorothy in February 2011.”
more images and other interesting projects on Joanna Ornowska’s website