Alzheimers Illustration: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Alzheimers IllustrationI was asked to illustrate a radio documentary, detailing research into Alzheimers disease and how the sense of smell is linked to memory. The documentary focused on how our ‘olfactory’ senses can evoke memories from childhood, and how the sense of smell could provide a link to treating degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The number of people in Britain with dementia is predicted to rise to over one million people in the next fifteen years. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that the disease affects over 700,000 people in the U.K.  Symptoms include memory loss, difficulty in finding the right words, not understanding what other people are saying, and also personality and mood changes.

Recent research suggests that certain smells can help to restore memory loss – particularly memorable smells may enable sufferers to recall feelings and emotions from earlier in their life.

My concept was based around the idea of ‘a trip down memory lane’. The figure in the picture is smelling a flower, the scent travels through the persons nostrils, into the brain, and then person recalls where they first smelled the scent of the flower: in the playing fields.

I used an old photocopier to get a grainy, fuzzy effect and further manipulated this in photoshop to give a slightly blurred feel  to the image, mirroring the idea of memory loss. I also played with the idea of representing a memory by using monochrome tones inspired by old black and white photographs and early T.V broadcasts. The rose is the only element in colour as this is the part which represents being in the present.

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