Liz Marie Sanders is an American photographer based in Arkansas, USA. She is a recipient of both the Magnum Foundation and the Rita and Alex K. Hillman Foundation Fellowships for her documentary work. Her ongoing project Be Here to Love Me explores her father’s struggle with dementia, and the subtle yet meaningful changes that occurred in her relationship with her mother as they both witnessed his slow decline.
The series reveals how dementia is often considered an illness “where the whole family gets the diagnosis”. In the photographs, which she made in collaboration with her mother, who helped to coordinate her father or held the reflector, she searches for the stories that he can no longer tell, often turning to fiction to fill in the holes of his life with her own imagined or altered memories. For Marie Sanders, the process of making Be Here to Love Me was as important as the result, and the project helped her to understand what the making of an image can do for those in it, and how the image can become a way to heal.