Matt Eich

I begin to write these words on what is my 10th wedding anniversary.

These are photographs of the grandmother that I barely knew. Alzheimer’s disease erased her sense of self and her place in this world when I was still young. My recollections of her are vague at best, and I don’t recall ever seeing a light in her eyes. I do remember her calling our house, looking for my mother, and not knowing who I was.

As his wife was dying, my grandfather took me on a road trip and handed me a camera. He had no way of knowing, but that simple gesture would come to define my life. In photography I found solid ground on the muddy road of memory. Through photography, I met my wife. When my children were born, one of the first sounds they heard in this world was the click of a camera shutter. I desperately long to chronicle their earliest moments.

My grandfather recently died at the age of 94. Even after his death, he managed to inadvertently alter my perception of family, life, and the world around me through a treasure trove of family photographs he left behind in his home. As I dig into this archive, I begin to see my family in a different light, one that is more complicated, and nuanced.

When I make pictures, I think about how my grandparents’ pain and loss was transformed into my joy. I find solace through this strange medium. Life is complicated, full of mystery and contradiction. My photographs cannot escape the shadows of this realization.

Matt was featured in Romka 10 in 2017.