Blue Moons of Bianca (2008-present)

Born in Chicago and former neighbor to Al Capone, Bianca was born Blanche, but changed her name to Bianca during her international Flamenco dance career. After 20 years of Flamenco, she became a costume seamstress. After she was diagnosed with dementia in 2008, she moved into a retirement home. Losing her apartment and her memory, Bianca wanted to commit suicide. Her daughter did not want a relationship with her; she has no other living relatives. More than anything, she’d express that losing her independence was her greatest point of despair. “It’s a prison,” she’d shares, as I took notes. She’d say, “Write down it is a prison,” in reference to the retirement home where the large gate not only kept people out, but also kept individual in. Her favorite thing to do is eat shrimp, drink champagne and dance, even when she has experienced a sense of alienation and depression related to dementia. I have spent hours on her white couch, having long discussions about feelings while listening to Billie Holiday on tape. When I was 14, Bianca approached me at a coffee shop and asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I told her it was documentary photography. She responded, "oh good. You will never be lonely." I have been photographing Bianca since then. Bianca's favorite song is Blue Moon. “Blue Moons of Bianca” is a 10 year photo, video, writing and sound based documentation. It is not only a document of her life, but also a conversation between us about remoteness, imprisonment, and feminized anxieties.