"If this is dying, it's the shits."
In spite of everything my father had not lost his sense of humor. The fact is, he was dying. Cancer. But he was also still living. Home early from work—a clear sign that something was wrong—he looked pale. We got him back in the car with less resistance than usual. "Your mother and brother sandbagged me when I got home and brought me in," he said to my brother at the hospital. He knew what the rest of us wouldn't admit; that if he went in, he probably wasn't coming out.
'Ottawa' was shot over several years during visits to my Canadian hometown, weaving in photos from family albums. Knowing that my father's days were numbered, these trips were beyond bittersweet; filled with an appreciation for what is, yet flecked with a new brand of sadness. The images use symbols and metaphor to explore the dying process. From diagnoses and hospital procedures, to hope, acceptance, and ultimately grief, they represent the clumsy act of letting go.