Memorial photography and Victorian post-mortem photography are popular subjects among bloggers, especially around this time of year.  It seems we can’t get enough of this seemingly morbid and alien cultural practice.  If you’ve been living under a rock or would like more information, click here.

German artist Walters Schels and writer Beate Lakotta have resurrected the practice of post-mortem photography with their project “Noch Mal Leben” (Life Before Death:  Portraits of the Dying).  A collection of portraits taken while the terminally ill subject was alive and again after death, the images and text explore the experiences, hopes and fears one encounters at the end of a life.  As one subject says, “I’m going to die!  That’s all I think about, every second when I’m on my own.”   Another subject says, “I’m surprised that I have come to terms with it fairly easily.  Now I’m lying here waiting to die.  But each day that I have I savour, experiencing life to the full.  I never paid any attention to clouds before.  Now I see everything from a totally different perspective:  every cloud outside my window, every flower in the vase.  Suddenly everything matters.”  To see the complete collection and read the interviews, visit the exhibition website here.

Heiner Schmitz, 2003 by Walters Schels

Edelgard Clavey, 2003 by Walters Schels

Wolfgang Kotzahn, 2004 by Walters Schels

-Jayme Catalano