Author Phyllis Chinlund will read from her memoir “Looking Back from the Gate: A Story of Love, Art, and Dementia” Wednesday, July 12, at 1 p.m. at the Camden Public Library.

“Love isn’t for sissies” could have been the motto for the 30-year marriage between Chinlund and photographer Ray Witlin. Even after the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, Witlin didn’t forget it. “I love you. We’ll be OK,” he would frequently declare. “But things don’t stay the same, and we’ll get through.”

From the perspective of two careers — documentary filmmaking (over 20 films directed or edited) and geriatric social work (25 years of clinical practice in New York and Maine) — Chinlund tells the story of how they “got through” … and how moving from Manhattan to Maine made it possible.

Their relationship was both strained and strengthened by each one’s need to be independent, as well as to be together, from the start. The tension between those two poles forms the emotional backdrop for the book. When he traveled, Witlin would steel himself for their parting by striding towards the gate without looking back. As his widow, Chinlund discovers how poignantly those painful partings paved the way for what was to come.

In documentary style, “Looking Back” interweaves journals, photographs and conversations to carry the reader along. The sensibilities Chinlund brought from her counseling career helped her puzzle out what Witlin was talking about and, as he explored with his camera, keep him engaged with life.

The presentation will feature some of Witlin’s photographs and include a discussion period. The event is free and open to the public.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or