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'Days With My Father': A Photographic Farewell

The photograph selected by Moby for "Project Song" Phillip Toledano hide caption

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Phillip Toledano

The photograph selected by Moby for "Project Song"

Phillip Toledano

As inspiration for NPR's Project Song, Moby selected a photograph of a man with an exploding head. Stephen Merritt used an image of a man made of baby dolls. Both musicians are well-acquainted with the fantastical photography of Phillip Toledano. The photographer's website is replete with commercial and personal projects about absurd American consumerism, sexual reassignment surgery and video game obsession. It's humorous, it's dark, it's a bit eccentric.

But if you sift a bit through Toledano's website oddities, you'll discover a project that's humorous and dark like the rest of his work — but also subtle and poignant: "Days With My Father" is the visual diary that Toledano kept during his father's last years. It chronicles the struggle of a widower with memory loss, and the struggle of a son's transition from child to care-taker.

What began as an online diary was recently published as a book; the cover image was elected by readers who had been following Toledano's story. You can see an excerpt here, but the whole project can be viewed on Toledano's website.