Exhibition at the Wellcome Collection of portraits taken of people before and after they had died

From the Guardian >>

Beate Taube, 44, by Walter Schels
Beate Taube, 44, by Walter Schels

Horrifying though photographing the bodies was, more shocking still for Schels and Lakotta was the sense of loneliness and isolation they discovered in their subjects during the before-death shoots. “Of course we got to know these people because we visited them in the hospices and we talked about our project, and they talked to us about their lives and about how they felt about dying,” explains Lakotta. “And what we realised was how alone they almost always were. They had friends and relatives, but those friends and relatives were increasingly distant from them because they were refusing to engage with the reality of the situation. So they’d come in and visit, but they’d talk about how their loved one would soon be feeling better, or how they’d be home soon, or how they’d be back at work in no time. And the dying people were saying to us that this made them feel not only isolated, but also hurt. They felt they were unconnected to the people they most wanted to feel close to, because these people refused to acknowledge the fact that they were dying, and that the end was near.”

Some of the subjects, says Schels, were bitter about how lonely the business of dying had made them feel – for some, this was why they agreed to take part in the project. “Some of the dying said, ‘It’s so good you’re doing this – it’s really important to show what it’s like. No one else is listening to me, no one wants to hear or know what it’s really like.'”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s