United States

Be Here to Love Me

The photo project Be Here to Love Me focuses on Elizabeth father’s struggle with dementia, and the long-troubled relationship between her mom and herself, that has shifted into something more beautiful, each year that Elizabeth’s father remembered less. The shared sadness that the family carries in loving him has brought about a major transformation. Through photography, they have become allies. Elizabeth’s mother has become both her collaborator and assistant as she photographs, holding the reflector, or coaching her dad as she takes his portrait. He is no longer able to tell stories, and it is through the image that the artist is searching for him, turning to fiction to fill in the holes of his life with her own imagined or altered memories. How else do you locate the personhood of someone who is no longer the person you knew? Through this project, Elizabeth has come to understand the value of process and what the making of an image can do for those in it. The image becomes a talisman that holds the power of their familial exchange. The image is a way to heal.


Liz is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, New York, and a graduate of the Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism Program at the International Center for Photography. Liz’s photographic practice focuses on the intersection of tradition and modernity and how that affects individual and collective identities, especially within communities experiencing change. Having grown up an only child to older parents and having very little extended family, Liz has an interest in large family dynamics and intimate family relations. Most recently, Liz has been photographing her own small family, during her aging father’s struggle with dementia, and the complexities of the mother-daughter bond as they re-frame their parent-child relationship and imagine a life without him.

Elizabeth M Sanders (US) "Be Here to Love Me" - Helphoto 2020
Elizabeth M Sanders (US) "Be Here to Love Me" - Helphoto 2020