2021 Shortlisted

David Wallin – I Was Too Late

By June 16, 2021 No Comments

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I found out my dad was dead when the police rang my doorbell one evening. We sat awkwardly around our half eaten dinner as the Sergeant shuffled through papers while wielding her large flashlight. Pointing out details; mumbling her apologies.

He’d finally succumbed to a lifetime of alcohol abuse and had died alone in his tiny housing commission flat in a city 10 hours away.

I knew very little about my father’s life. We had only seen each other once in the previous 15 years and had been reconnecting through short handwritten letters in the months before he passed away.

My sisters and I entered his apartment with garbage bags and cleaning products. I came with the hope of finding some insight into his life, keepsakes from our estranged family; perhaps something I could take home to remember him by. Something to help fill in the 33 years of each other’s lives we had missed.

I Was Too Late is a document of what we found instead.

It is however something more personal and powerful than just a collection of memorabilia or tangible objects that would gather dust on a shelf. It’s a glimpse of his last moments and thoughts. But seen from the inside, looking outwards.

My father was gone. But lived in everything I saw that day.

I see more in these images now than I did in any experience or dialogue with the man himself.

The last, most intimate and honest points of contact I have with him.

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