The Grief Gallery:
What the Camera Captures
by Lora Appleton
Lora Appleton, founder of Kinder MODERN & Female Design Council, photographed her maternal grandfather (and father figure) for her project AD.POP, documenting his last five years with Alzheimers until he passed.
With her grandmother, Lora took on the role of caretaker for her Poppy, and her confusion, hurt, love, pride, and sadness found expression in images and words.
Of her grandmother, she wrote, “My grandmother is the rock. The angry, strong, hurtful, beautiful best friend of mine that deals with this ugly sentence fourteen hundred and forty minutes a day. Every day is different and every challenge is new, which makes the simplest of tasks seem daunting. I salute her, I admire her, I’m sad for her, I sometimes hate being around her; but somehow I understand, and I am always there.”
“I remember the first time I saw what was missing. I saw him look at a page and see nothing. I saw words from beginning to end and he still saw nothing. I couldn’t understand how the man who taught me everything still saw nothing. It is four years later and most of the time he still sees nothing. He looks at me and I wonder if there is something.”
“My grandfather is just that, the grandest of fathers who was there to teach me by example. He was strong and powerful yet had lines in his face that shared expression and age. He was so kind to me and loved most of what I did. As long as I did well in school and had ambitions of making money we seemed to have lots to speak about. He shares everything with me, although I can’t remember him speaking much and now I can’t remember his speaking at all.”
“I used the camera as my protection, my friend, my microscope.”
– Lora Appleton, 2021
“Using art to move through the darkness of dealing with the loss of a parent figure was a trial, and a triumph.”
– Lora Appleton, 2021
Lora Appleton is a creative and her work can not fit into one single category. As a multidisciplinary artist and designer, Lora’s career has taken a lot of different paths all influencing her lens upon living, most recently tapping back into her personal art work to further explore her themes of life, love, death, body and self.
Professionally Lora is the Founder of lauded design gallery kinder MODERN and the Female Design Council. She is a leading voice in New York City design, paving the way for designers, makers and artists with her meticulous design vision, nuanced collections, and curatorial and community leadership. Appleton founded the Female Design Council as a direct response to the long history of imbalanced representation of gender in the design industry. She is leading the charge for womxn in design, and is working to shift the narrative away from “traditional” gender roles and family structure towards a focus on womxn’s technical, artistic skills and merits.
Appleton’s curatorial work and nuanced collections have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Surface, Deezen, Vogue, Cultured, Elle Decor, Wallpaper*, and more. In addition, Appleton helms her kM design studio, where she designs sophisticated and functional furniture, rugs, and public spaces for children of all ages.
A graduate of NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, Appleton began her career in documentary film and moved into photography years later to focus on the interpersonal relationship between subject and shooter. This was clearly shown in her AD.POP series, a deeply personal mixed media project developed to deal with the ongoing grief of losing her maternal grandfather, and father figure, to Alzheimers.
Lora used the lens as a connector and spent the last five years until her pop died photographing him, and capturing his joy as well as his decline to help them both with a newfound way of relating. Using art to move through the darkness of dealing with the loss of a parent figure was a trial, and a triumph. It proved an amazing way to bring her closer to the loss and yet allowed for enough space for analysis and capture. To this day there are still some images too painful to review, such as the last three stills taken the day he passed.
Lora continues to lead conversations through her work about the importance of highlighting all womxn in creativity. Her passion lies in communicating with educators, collectors, families, mothers and designers through a variety of mediums and platforms. She resides in Manhattan with her son, who continues to be her muse.
Conversation: What the Camera Captures
Wed Nov 17th, 5-5:45pm ET (note new time)
Join artists Lora Appleton and Alexandra Rowley in conversation with curator Charlene Lam of The Grief Gallery about their photography-based projects and the role of creativity in processing their grief and losses. Register: https://bit.ly/grief-
GRIEF GRIT GRACE
The Grief Gallery is a project by Grief Grit Grace and curated by Charlene C Lam. Visit www.griefgritgrace.com for more resources and information about my approach to grief work.
MONTHLY GRIEF GATHERING
Join us for The Grief Gallery's monthly grief gathering the last Wednesday of the month.