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September 2022

Tito's Amputation

It’s been said that pictures take on a different meaning once someone passes away.

When I flew to Colombia to say goodbye to my dying grandfather, I kept this thought in mind as I forced myself to take what I thought might be the last photographs of him.

In his hospital room, I hid behind my camera to keep him from seeing my flowing tears. I wanted to be strong for him; I wanted to pretend that he was fine while I knew he was playing hooky with death. But seeing him in the hospital bed 100 lbs lighter was heartbreaking; His skin sagged, his soon-to-be amputated legs were pencil thin.

As I walked around my grandfather laying in his hospital bed photographing every part of him, it reminded me of David Hockney’s work. While editing the images later that night, I decided to create these images in his style. For the main image, "Tito-Clinica Del Rosario- Colombia", I printed five separate photographs, layered them on top of each other, and stapled them together to represent the staples he received himself.

I have a love-hate relationship with this image. I love it because it’s the last image I took of him, and it helped me channel my grief into photography. I hate it because I don’t want to remember him like that. I don’t want to see him in that bed so unlike himself.

Tito fortunately survived his amputation surgery and returned home. However, he's not the grandpa that I knew growing up. That version of him is gone. That is the version I grieve. That is the version I'll always remember. 

Tito- Clinica Del Rosario- Colombia

Tito Six Months Post-Amputation

tito details- david hockney style.jpg
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