Todd Danforth grew up along the West River in the heart of the Blackstone River Valley, the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. He was born into quite a large family with an astounding family history. His lineage can be traced back to Judge Thomas Danforth, the Deputy Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1679-1686, who also sat on the Superior Court sessions during the Salem Witch Trials. Todd’s current photographic work focuses primarily on family and the ties that bond these close relationships together. He currently resides on the South Shore of Boston, Massachusetts and holds his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University.
I sat on the hospital bed beside my grandfather and watched as he took his dying breaths. Aunt Beth walked into the room and quietly sat next to me. She glanced at her father for a moment and then back to me. “Life is funny, huh?” she said. I looked at her and then back to my grandfather. His cheeks were no longer full and his body almost lifeless. A machine beside his recliner supplied oxygen to his lungs and I could not help but imagine myself at age seventy-eight. Will I have his wrinkles too, I thought? His head full of white hair, not a bald spot to be found. And then I began to wonder about our non-physical characteristics and the similarities my aunts and uncles share with my grandparents. I began to think about his memories and accomplishments and what value those hold now that he remains helpless. Who will continue this legacy he began? Who will tell his story after he goes, because afterall, we are the only ones who can.
These family portraits tell the photographic journey that I began in pursuit to understand the emotional struggles that bond my family together. After my Grandmother’s passing in 2004, my Grandfather became the patriarch of the family; but more importantly he was the aging bond that weaved my family’s legacy. As time has it, nothing lasts forever- his illness worsened, his memory faded, and as I ushered a final farewell to my last semester of college, my Grandfather took his final breath.
For more information about Todd, please visit his website.