Walter Schels – Life Before Death

This sombre series of portraits taken of people before and after they had died is a challenging and poignant study. The work by German photographer Walter Schels and his partner Beate Lakotta, who recorded interviews with the subjects in their final days, reveals much about dying – and living. Life Before Death is at the Wellcome Collection from April 9-May 18′ – Joanna Moorhead for guardian.co.uk

ive been feeling pretty emotional for the last couple of days. im not sure where its come from, but feel a bit strange.

after most likely googling something morbid for continuing reasearch, i came across the most shocking and deeply upsetting set of photos ive come across on the net. and thats saying something-someone who often goggle’s deformed children, celebrity autopsies and the like.

heres a link to a set of images of various people at the end of there lives. a photo at the last moments of someones life, and another after they have passed. along with the photos are how the person feels about they have lived there life, wishes and miss spent time, and unfulfilled dreams. The photos convey a host of unanswered questions and fear behind the eyes. All photos are of people of different ages, and have different feelings towards facing their inevitable death.
after looking at post-mortem photos from Victorian era, and trying to learn more about why people took these, i have demise that families would have not been able to afford a photograph of the deceased in life, as they were too expensive and the Daguerreotype was a lengthy process. The photographs would take many hours for an exposure to be made, forcing the person to stay still for a considerable amount of time. looking at the Victorian photographs, to me they view as if were paintings, dressed up and displayed in finery, and positioned as if they were still alive.
Walter Schels series are close up portraits of a before and after, layed side by side, for crude comparison. that you often did not get with the Daguerreotype. comparing what it is t be alive- seeing a somewhat fading glimmer behind the eyes, then in death, the shell of someones body, from once a person layed. The photo stripped of all the flowers, nice frocks and staged props for this expensive and only photographic evidence of a loved ones existence, to a simple clean-cut image of the last moments of someones life-which now we choose not to capture.


film – big fish (ended up crying at this too)

tv series – around the world in 80 faiths (managed to note down some useful death rituals)

music – Talking Heads discography

eating –  icebud ice cream when i should be asking for jobs, but getting the order wrong and running out before asking 😛


2 Responses to “Walter Schels – Life Before Death”

  1. July 5, 2013 at 12:17

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  2. July 22, 2013 at 21:46

    Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with
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