I had not really started to shoot for my project until two weeks ago, but now I have set aside two-week blocks of time at regular intervals until the summer when I can concentrate on the deaconesses.

My original plan was to photograph the old ladies steadily throughout a whole year. For various reasons, that has not been possible. I was feeling stressed because I hadn’t started and because I have a challenging project in terms of the narrative. I want to tell about something that will soon be gone, and I also want to tell about something that has been, but is no more. How can that be accomplished? Can it be accomplished?

I have started with a simple structure:

1. Simple, straightforward portraits that show the old ladies.

2. Visit the home of each one of them. There, I can find details and stories that reflect the deaconesses’ individual and shared history. I also talked to them a lot to identify situations that might be interesting to capture on film.

3. Plot in events and activities that can be photographed and that can help tell about the deaconesses’ lives (funerals, celebrations, anniversaries, responsibilities).

4. Taking pictures of public areas, things, objects, places that say something about the shared life they have lived (cemetery, cottage, living room, silverware).

So I will take it from there and see how the project unfolds and whether there is anything to tell.

Ellen Lande Gossner