My great-aunt Agatha Ganong was born in 1917. She recently suffered a stroke and had to move into an assisted living facility - which I'm sure was hard for such a strong and independent woman. She made the request that I come and photograph her - so of course I said yes. Throughout her life she travelled all over the world, and she has the stories (and furs) to prove it.

While I was editing these photos, I was constantly reminded of a poem she wrote during her early time in the nursing home:

“Be patient, be patient,” the nurses say

Over and over to me each day.

That makes me feel guilty, for I can see

From their faces they feel they’ve been patient with me.


Dear nurses believe me, what I tell you is true.

I want to make work more easy for you.

But I’m often so stupid and sometimes so blue,

That I can’t hardly grasp

What’s the right thing to do.


Agatha Ganong

October 2013

I brought one of her old fur coats along for the photo, because that is such a strong part of my memories of her - growing up hearing stories of Agatha adventuring all over the world and bringing back amazing jewelry, coats and furs. I wanted to bring back some of that luxury for these photos. Although she complained that I didn't bring along her grey squirrel coat because "it goes with everything".

I can only hope that when I am 98 I will be as fabulous as she is. It was an honour to photograph her.

Lance Blakney1 Comment