Fausto Podavini




Mirella is the story of a woman, a mother, a wife, a grandmother.
Mirella is 71 years old, she spent 43 years of her life with the only person loved.
43 years of sharing, difficulties, laughs and beautiful moments: a family, a house, values handed down.
In the last 6 years something changed, Mirella had to fight against her husband’s illness, the Alzheimer.
She devoted her life to him.



She became his caregiver looking forward with devotion, strength and love as long as there is life there is hope even if memories are slowly wasted day by day relentlessly.
What could it be more dolorous than not to be recognized anymore by the person loved, the life partner?
Mirella is the love story of a woman for her husband, a woman suddenly forced to face on her own the biggest difficulty experienced, made by hopes and unbelief, pain and resignation, sorrow and powerlessness.
Mirella spent her life next her husband, she never abandoned him; not an hospital, not external assistance until his last day, he died with immense pain in his house between his loved ones.
He died in the same house where they spent together their whole life.



Fausto Podavini, born in Rome, lives and works in his native town.
He started his photography passion at 18 years old first as assistance and studio photographer then going in for ethnological and social reportage. He worked at the MIFAV, Photography Museum of Tor Vergata University, in Rome in 1992 and studied at the Jonh Kaverdash photography academy in Milan obtaining a Master in Reportage. Fausto left studio photography to dedicate himself exclusively to reportage, nowadays he is a freelance photographer who collaborates with many ONG making reportage in Italy, Perù, Kenya, Ethiopia where currently he is developing personal photographic projects. He has exhibited in many places including Rome, Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Buenos Aires and attained over the years many Awards, including: World Press Photo 2013, FIOF photographer of the year 2011, World Report Awards again in 2011, the PDN 2012 and Winephoto 2012.


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Fausto Podavini


15 thoughts on “Fausto Podavini – Mirella”

  1. While some of the photos are touching, there is nothing redeeming about taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s. I think these kinds of stories are not helpful for families facing this terrible disease.

    My father died of Alzheimer’s. My mother died from the crushing burden of trying to take care of him. My father wasn’t aware much of the time who my mother was, much less cared who was taking care of him. Finally, my mother’s health destroyed, we put my dad in a nursing home. And then my mother. My mother died in June, 2002. My dad in July, 2002. There are no winners with Alzheimer’s.

  2. Great job…and moving. My father in law suffered with Alzheimer’s until he died at 82. My father, 82, now is dealing with Alzheimer’s. My mother is his care giver. I have worked with the Alzheimer’s Association for the past 7 years and have seen how photography can bring awareness and raise money to help fight this horrible disease. Keep up the good work.

  3. So touching and personal. Again, the Burn finalists were much more quiet than the previous years. This is a beautiful example of that. The last image hammers home the circle of life. Thank you.

  4. This is excruciatingly beautiful.

    Jim, I’m always amazed by your capacity to only see the negative side of everything.
    There is tragedy and pain in all our lives, the veil of tears. And of course in the end we will all die. So why should we be joyful about anything, what’s the use? Why not be joyful?

    I see this as a beautiful love story, beautifully photographed.

  5. tonyhayesimages

    I think this is a wonderful essay. I’d really struggle to choose between this and Diana Markosian’s winning essay. I guess I’d go for Fausto’s as I have a mother suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s so I have something in common with this essay.

    Jim, to some extent I can understand how you feel, it must have been terrible to witness, but, that said, I don’t agree with your blanket statement that all families affected by Alzheimer’s would find this kind of photo-essay unhelpful, especially one as lovingly rendered as Fausto’s.

  6. Great work.

    Through the whole thing in the back of my mind I wondered how you would end an essay on such a topic…
    And the end was beautifully done. The last few pictures are great leading up to the outstandingly beautiful one at the end. The essay really is well done all the way through.

  7. This is one of the most ironic things about life – so much beauty can sometimes be found in such terrible human suffering and misery. This essay captures the beauty of deep, genuine love, love that persists when the pleasures so often associated with that love have left the human body. In the love that led her to care for her husband Mirela did find redeeming value.

    Jim, I am truly sorry for the breakdown and suffering of your parents and your experience with it. Although not Alzheimers, I went through something similar with my parents.

  8. Great I particuraly love the last picture, with the baby in the left corner! LIFE! This images rememember me those of Alejandro Kirchuk of EPF 2012.

    Well done. Shine. P

  9. there is something in this project that consume us, and this main ingredient is about being close. here we have a theme straight to the point and with this we are capable to touch, to fell, to be involved in.
    i know the feeling on being in the front row seeing the damages that this decease can do. i denied several times some behaviors and stages. it can be so passionate and at the same time so outrageous.
    in this kind of subject, the technique is in you hearth and your captures are more than never in you eyes.

    thank you for showing the true.

  10. Thank you all for your comments!
    I understand the words of Jim.
    This work has been my experience
    In Alzheimer’s disease there are no winners. But I believe that Alzheimer’s should be telling.

  11. Pingback: Uma história por trás das lentes: Mirella : Gerontologia

  12. Pingback: Fausto Podavini: A Story about Alzheimer’s and Love | beanstories

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