Photographer Walter Sachels was terrified of death, so much so he refused to see his mother after she passed away. Upon entering his 70s, Schels finally decided to overcome his fear through a bold, bizarre project – photographing individuals before and directly after their death.
Schels and his partner Beat Lakotta began approaching potential individuals at hospices in Berlin and Hamburg. The pair were on constant alert, at times running out in the middle of the night to shoot before the undertaker would come.
Though emotionally draining, Schels recognized that the series became an important epitaph to people before they actually died. With family and friends unable to cope with the looming truth, terminally ill patients often feel completely isolated.
“It’s so good you’re doing this”, Schels quoted a dying man to The Guardian, “No one else is listening to me, no one wants to hear or know what it’s really like.”
Schels is no longer terrified of death and now sees avoidance of the issue as a serious problem in contemporary society, people unable to be truly present for loved ones when they need them most. Life Before Death is an attempt to confront our worst fears and perhaps, to see those nearing the end in a more human light. For the individual stories behind each of the portraits click here.
With autumn on the horizon, this graphic looks at the chemicals behind the myriad colours of autumn leaves; bigger version & download here: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-sn
Apparently there are places in the world where this is starting to happen? I wouldn’t know since Austin still has the summer dial turned up to like 8.5, and our trees don’t so much “change color” as “exhaustedly whither into a brown winter dormancy as if finally exhaling after the release of soul-crushing weight.”
This color-changing thing sounds nice though, I hope to check it out sometime!
PS - “Autumnal carotenoids” would make a great indie band name.
William F. Howard, Two Untitled Photographs of an Iceberg, (1930)
Slavoj Žižek, a psychoanalyst and Marxist philosopher, on the Kinder Surprise egg
luz de agosto
espero deste verão
alguma luz capaz
de trepanar este escuro caixão
How do I love thee, tree? Let me count the ways; you change carbon dioxide into the oxygen we breathe, you sequester carbon, and you provide shelter for countless critters. There are many reasons for which we should all be tree-hugging hippies, but within the scope of this article, all we’ll focus on is how amazing some of them look.