27 Good-byes



Deanna Dikeman (b. 1954, United States) documented her parents' life for nearly 27 years. In the images, we can see her mother and father - during different life stages - waving her good-bye as she drives away.

It started in 1991, with a sequence of snapshots that were made by the photographer to immortalise the moment of departure and to overcome the sadness of leaving her parents’ house in suburban Iowa, United States. At first, Dikeman considered these images a part of the larger ongoing body of work 'Relative Moments' (1986 - ongoing) that depicts her extended family's routines: mornings at the breakfast table, household chores, celebrations, etcetera.

However, repeatedly looking at every photograph from the series triggered an awareness that 'leaving and waving' images didn't simply communicate an individual definition of home, security, and belonging. Instead, these pictures have become an independent record of longing and aging, the inevitable process that triggers a deeply human viewers’ response.

"I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I've lost",Nan Goldin famously wrote in her book 'Couples and Loneliness' (1998). Similarly, in 'Leaving and Waving', Dikeman assembles the happiness of seldom encounters with a bittersweet pain of the natural separation of things and people.

Time has progressed, and with painful consequences. The very last image of an empty driveway was taken by Dikeman in 2017. For the first time in the photographer's life, no one is waving back at her.