You have been warned: look away now or else prepare to be overwhelmed by deep sadness. In 1995, 61-year old artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He died in 2007, but before his passing, he created a series of self-portraits over a five-year period documenting the devastating effect of the disease on his art and mind.
The final images are haunting and disturbing. His 1967 self-portrait shows his healthy state, while the one in 2000 shows us his eventual inability to even remember what he looks like.
‘Even the time he was beginning to be ill, he was always always drawing, every minute of the day’, William’s wife, Patricia Utermohlen tells NewStatesman. ‘I say he died in 2000, because he died when he couldn’t draw any more. He actually died in 2007, but it wasn’t him by then’.