Most people have close ties with their grandparents, and the loss of a grandparent can make you re-examine many things in your life – the kind of person you are, and how you have been influenced by your close family. When my Grandmother, Jessie Reidel, fell and injured herself in 2011 she was no longer able to care for herself at her home in Kitchener, Ontario – a home she had shared with her family for more than 70 years.
I returned to Canada to visit her at the hospital, and with my Mother paid my final visit to my Grandmother’s house, a place I’d known all my life. A place of family gatherings and visits – a place of happiness and memories as far back as I have memories.
I chose to try to record that home and my memories of it in a way that I hadn’t been able to, decades ago, with my paternal Grandparent’s home. I felt a need to capture many of those small details, the things that were there for decades that had almost become part of the fabric of the house – things that helped express the stories that that place could tell.
It was an emotional experience, and although I took the photographs in 2011, it wasn’t until after my Grandmother died in 2013 and I’d returned from the funeral that I found I could look at them again. Working on them and creating this photographic series was a part of my closure to that part of my life, and a way of saying goodbye to my Grandmother, Jessie Reidel, who’s influence on who I became was only clear to me after she died. I know her influence will stay with me for the rest of my life.
These are just a few of the photographs that I took that day. More will appear in an upcoming photography book in collaboration with my sister, an artist in Ontario, Canada, entitled ‘What Remains‘.
About the photographer
Paul Ligas is an ethical commercial photographer based in Herefordshire, working across Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and the UK. Follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and connect on LinkedIn.