Phil & Me is a personal document of a daughter's use of photography to try to control her relationship with her father and the disease that has crippled him, as well as an attempt to focus public understanding upon the essential humanity, the worth and contribution, of all victims of schizophrenia.
In the book Amanda explores the world of her father, Philip Tetrault - a poet who has lived with schizophrenia since he attended McGill University at the age of 21. Philip was a poet suffused with promise and was hailed by Leonard Cohen as Canada's best-kept secret in 1989...before he slipped into yet another schizophrenic nightmare.
The book juxtaposes Philip's poetry with black and white images of him taken during the sporadic meetings with Amanda. The photographs encompass a period of six years and the poetry eight years. Photo-booth pictures that span the past twenty-seven years form the thread that binds the surreal visual and poetic narrative. Phil & Me evolved into a collaboration between father and daughter after Amanda asked Philip to try to write again. Since then he has given her scraps of paper and napkins full of poetry at every meeting.
Philip's poetry immerses us into the reality of his days - moving through the cafes and parks of Montreal his habitual Mickey of vodka in hand, where many of his acquaintances are street kids, squirrels, crows and seagulls. His are the musings of a man who has survived a crippling disease - a disease rarely discussed and more often disowned.
Phil & Me tells the stories of many, through the experience of one, and gives passionate voice to those who rarely speak out and are even more rarely heard.
Amanda Tetrault was awarded the Canada Council of the Arts Emerging Artist Grant for her work chronicling her father. After graduating from Dawson College in Montreal, she joined the Maine Photographic Workshops, Rockport, Maine and subsequently the Toscana Photographic Workshops, Tuscany, Italy. She moved to New York, working with the National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry, and collaborated on the production of his books Portraits (Phaidon Press) and South South East (Phaidon Press).