2017 — student winner
Monica Jorge, born in Hartford, CT, is a photographer currently based in Brooklyn, NY. After graduating with a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Findlay in 2015, she continued her studies at Trinity College in Hartford where she explored her interest in human rights. Her work in photojournalism has focused on news, politics, and social issues including the 2016 presidential election cycle. Since then, she has explored different demographics of American citizens and their respective stories including Trump supporters in Ohio’s coal country to members of the “Resistance” in New York while continuing to work on long form personal projects revolving around her family and the area she is from.
She has been a contributor to Sipa, USA, and has published images on CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, VICE, TIME, and others. Recently she was awarded the Alexia Foundation student grant for her current longterm work. she is currently enrolled in the documentary and photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography in New York.
My Grandmother’s story of caring for his Alzheimer’s and Dementia
According to the Alzheimer's Association, in 2015 more than 15 million caregivers provided unpaid assistance. One third of these caregivers were women age 65 or older. “My Grandfather’s Keeper” documents the psychological toll taken on family members who were not prepared for this fate - like elderly wives. Through my grandmother’s experience caring for her husband and his Alzheimer’s and dementia, this story is an intimate account of how a wife becomes a nurse and the reality of growing old as her partner of 57 years forgets who she is.
Using still photographs, Polaroids, archived family photos, and journal entries, this project will allow the viewer a glimpse into my grandmother’s day-to-day experience during the progression of her husband’s disease. “My Grandfather’s Keeper” represents a collaborative effort between myself and my grandparents and will include their own photographs and journal entries. The story will communicate the daily stress of caretaking and the sacrifice it demands. This will be paired with an intimate personal viewpoint of the subjects through their own vision and voice.
“My Grandfather’s Keeper” will be published as a book, a short multimedia film using audio from Luisa and Ramiro Durao intended for distribution, and an online interactive piece where extended family and friends will be able to share responses. The Alzheimer's Association reports that 60% of caregivers are under high or very high stress, 40% suffer from depression, and 74% report they are concerned about maintaining their own health since becoming a caregiver. The goal is to convey the emotional impact caretakers endure in their own senior age.