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Life Through a Lens

The world can look very different through the eyes of someone with dementia - to help us understand, four members of a service user dementia network group in Liverpool shared their perception with photographer Tadgh Devlin, exhibiting the images at the Open Eye Gallery's Culture Shifts season. Digital manipulation shows us how the condition can have a dramatic impact on the way even familiar situations are perceived and tells poignant stories.

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Gina, 63

"I didn't know there was life after diagnosis. I just thought it would be pretty dull and a lot of sitting around, maybe watching television. I was very surprised to find that I was needed, which is a great feeling isn't it?"

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"We can easily get lost. It's just 'cos we're wandering about looking for the old Liverpool that we know. We're never going to find it anymore. So we just stopped going..."

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Tommy, 63

"You're losing memories all the time so if you don't bring along new stuff today, it'll start chipping into yesterday's memories... and the day before."

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"Your superpower kicks in - You become invisible. They start talking about you, over you, around you but they never speak to you. They don't want to look at you, in case it's contagious."

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"Sometimes you wonder if you're dead because when people talk about you in the past tense when you're in the room, you wonder if you're back from the dead, listening in and wiping the cobwebs off"

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"I was starting to do things that weren't normal. I had two scans and learnt I had early onset Alzheimer's. I went into denial a little bit. The first two weeks I was just in the pub, drunk day and night. It's like watching a cartoon, it's like your life is in another dimension. You;re not in this world; you're of it but you're not in it. Just for a split second or a couple of minutes at a time."

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"I recorded some of my songs and we raised £2,000 for the Alzheimer's Society. I need words when I play live because sometimes I forget. Creatively I think I have gone forward and been more prolific. I wrote a beautiful song yesterday called 'Stumble and fall' and it turned out fantastic but this morning I couldn't remember if it was slow or quick... it can be really frustrating."

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"I always walk up to Speke Hall Lake. I have a little mantraa. I stop and have a little shout. I make sure no one is looking at me first and then I say 'go on then, throw me in'. Then I start shouting at the top of my head 'You can't can you? Cos I've won, haven't I?' and I feel great after I've done that. It's just a little thing that I do and it makes me feel so good. I have my own battle. And I win every day.

Roy, 66

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"When the starter was presented in front of me I didn't know what to pick up. It's frustrating because you're trying to live a normal life and it isn't normal anymore. It was terrifying. It was like being switched off. Nothing seemed to mean anything. When I showed them my Alzheimer's Society card it made a big difference."

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"You've got to keep trying to beat the disease. It helps me to think of my past and what's wrong. You can sit there and just empty your mind and just concentrate on the view. Forget about tomorrow. I'm not bothered about tomorrow. The disease is trying to change me as a person but it's not. I'm still me."