Carmen Buck, Photographer and Author of Just See Me – Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia

About Just See Me Carmen Buck

By Carmen Buck

I grew up curious. At a time when many of us were groomed to be seen and not heard, I tuned into my surroundings. During 45 years of nursing I yearned to know my patients. As fulfilling as my career was, a constant whisper said: ’There is something else.’ One ordinary day in the clinic, a family came in for help managing dementia, my nurse practitioner specialty. My patient, aged 62 in an early stage of Alzheimer’s Disease, wanted to set up hospice care so her husband wouldn’t have to do it alone when she could not help. There were lots of tears and hugs. As they left, the whisper was loud–these stories need to be told! Stories of love and compassion like I had never experienced might help us all get a glimpse into the depth of despair and healing power of love. I was driven to be their voice and complete the stories with images.

Over three years, I sharpened my photography skills, visited with 13 families, and learned first hand about caregiving. I asked them one question, “What do you want the world to know?” Wives, husbands, adult children and grandchildren had much to say.

After three years, I yearned to understand hours of taped interviews and scribbled notes, and felt such pressure to do justice to their stories. I wasn’t sure how to weave 13 stories until I realized they each described unmet spiritual needs and how they handled the challenges. I witnessed the power of prayer, humor, connection, compassion and the pain of loneliness and isolation.


Writing Just See Me- Sacred Stories from the Other side of Dementia was a work of healing for me and those who participated. During this time, I faced personal struggles and these stories saved me. Families described the weight lifted by talking about their experiences. We each became parts of one another’s lives. They knew their loved one’s legacy could live on in print and images, and their struggle with dementia meant something. The very photos most didn’t want to take, became priceless treasures and more valuable once their loved one passed.

Responses have poured in from around the world for Just See Me. After about a year from the epiphany in the clinic, I left my 40+ year career to interview and write. I dove deep into my love of photography capturing memories especially for those impacted by dementia. Images convey feeling and can say so much about living with dementia making photography a wonderful tool to raise awareness. Combining words and photography creates a mighty voice to help people see into the lives impacted by dementia and reduce fear of the unknown so we may all experience more compassion and love. Just See Me-Sacred Stories From the Other Side of Dementia gives a voice to families who were otherwise overwhelmed with life and serves as a big step toward reducing stigma. Feelings of loneliness and isolation helped to birth Doggies for Dementia, a program using photography and connection with animals to raise awareness.


Carmen Davailus (Buck) with Carmen’s Legacy Productions creates magic with images for those who want to stand out in the world. After 40 years of nursing, she left her career to document the lives of families impacted by dementia and authored Just See Me-Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia. She recognizes compelling and compassionate photography speaks to us in ways we could never speak out loud. Connection through stories and images is Carmen’s passion.  She is a consultant and photographer for businesses and individuals who want to leave a remarkable legacy. She uses photography as an Alzheimer’s Advocate believing the more we understand, the less we will fear. This leaves more room for love, compassion and kindness. Carmen is an author, speaker, visual artist, and Dementia Advocate. Carmen is the founder of Doggies for Dementia, a program gifting photos to families impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and raising awareness with compassion, courage and inspiration.

Social Media Links:

Facebook (Carmen’s Legacy Productions/Carmen Buck Photography)   




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  1. What important and powerful work you are doing Carmen. I felt the tears welling up inside as I realized I don’t have any photos of my parents with me during the time of their dementia. They would have been priceless for me to have today. Thank you for making a difference for those of us affected in some way by this cruel disease.

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