Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Love Day

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Cathy Hurd and Tom Carter have been together for 16 years. Last year Tom was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, a disease that will eventually take Tom's life. MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Walker Evans, one of America's great documentary photographers, once said, "I go to the street for the education of my eye and for the sustenance that the eye needs - the hungry eye, and my eye is hungry."

For me, this quote has always felt like a call to action. It is why I've embarked on a new photojournalism project - called The Hungry Eye - that I hope will take me into the lives of Winnipeggers from all walks of life.

One of the many things I hope to accomplish is to revisit some of the people who I meet during assignments, people who are often not the main focus of the story. Or they often have something interesting to say that isn't directly related to the topic at hand.

Cathy Hurd and Tom Carter are good examples. In early January, I was sent to their home in Transcona to get a portrait of the couple to go with a story about Tom's diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.

The original story centered about how the couple - and their children and grandchildren - are dealing with the quick progression of Tom's dementia. It was a touching story that allowed the Free Press to provide information to our readers about dementia during the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba's month-long awareness campaign.

While I was at their home, Cathy showed me a portrait taken at a local studio before Tom became ill. She told me she was going to take Tom back on Valentine's Day for a new portrait.

Cathy called it their "Love Day Outing". I knew that this was something I wanted to document and I wanted to know what it was that kept the flame burning for Cathy. I could see it in her eyes, her body language, and how she talked about - and with - Tom.

So I accompanied them on their Love Day Outing to the studio and then to The Forks where we sat down for coffee.

"My earliest description of love actually came from my dad and his explanation was, love is an itchy spot around your heart that you can never scratch and that's what love is," says Cathy. "He's my itchy spot."

She turns to Tom. "You're my itchy," she says.

Tom begins talking about the Itchy and Scratchy characters from The Simpsons. Cathy laughs with him but turns to me. She's got more to say about their relationship.

"We've had people throughout the years try and come between us but we've always been one - and I do mean one - to fight for what we have," she says. "Sometimes it's really hard to describe what it is that we have but I can't imagine my life without him and I don't know how he feels about me..."

Tom begins speaking immediately.

"You're my life, because you help me in so many ways," he says. "Indescribable."

UPDATE: Just got an email from Cathy and they are now both 7 days smoke free! I really hope they kick the habit!

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About Mike Deal

After freelancing for the Winnipeg Free Press for three years, starting in 1997, Mike Deal landed a part-time job as a night photodesk editor.

His first day in the new position was supposed to be September 12, 2001. But when he woke to the news of the two towers on September 11, he automatically headed into the newsroom.

For the next few years, he split his hours at the Winnipeg Free Press between photo editing and photography. In 2008, Mike was hired full-time as a photojournalist.

Mike’s training includes a journalism diploma from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary. He also spent time at the University of Manitoba, working at the Manitoban and the U of M photo club and taking fine art courses.

Having also just finished shooting a personal project that involved taking 2,013 portraits using just his iPhone in the year 2013, he looks forward to taking the portrait project concept to another level. He will NOT be shooting 2,014 in 2014! Don't be surprised if he stops you in the street and demands a moment of your time. You have been warned!

Another personal passion of his is street photography, capturing the people of Winnipeg amongst the beautiful architecture of its downtown.

In his off-hours Mike enjoys taking photos with his iPhone, walks in Assiniboine Forest, and spending his free time with his partner Ariel and daughter Anna.

 

"I go to the street for the education of my eye and for the sustenance that the eye needs - the hungry eye, and my eye is hungry."    -Walker Evans

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