On the Mid-Autumn Festival day of 2019, I took photos of my grandma, my ma, and me. The original idea was to get us to wear the same piece of clothes, same necklace, and same earrings. When I pitched this idea to my family, the daughters of my grandma all laughed, as if it was silly and meaningless. Grandma’s old and pretty clothes won’t fit her, they said. My grandma’s dementia was not as bad back then. She was lucid during the photo shoot. It was still boiling hot in Guangdong’s September afternoon. I hung a rope on the rooftop and put an old family bedsheet on it, the way we would airdry big piece of laundry. Grandma was shy when I encouraged her to put on the black turtleneck top. I am old, this kind of clothes is not for me, she said. Eventually she came to the rooftop in the clothes and accessory. She sat quietly and solemnly, like a child on the first day of school.

My ma was not really listening to me. She wanted to take beautiful portraits. I had to take quite a few of her with her favourite scarf. She complained about the heat so much that I felt the pressure to end this torture to her faster. In the end I failed to get her into the black turtleneck top, nor the necklace.

My photo was taken by my ma. I didn’t have a shutter cable, and my camera would not auto focus. My ma had never used a film SLR camera before. I gave her a brief crashcourse, but when the photos were developed, this was the best photo of me. Perhaps it is an accurate perspective from my ma’s, with blurs, mysteries, confusion, misunderstandings, but at least she tried.