• http://www.living-thoughts.net Shini

    Death is beautiful, surely how one looks at death and faces it will tell you how they lived their entire life…thanks for the link.

  • http://tsheva.deviantart.com Tracye

    Very powerful images. Heather might have gone overboard with her statements only because perhaps she herself is uncomfortable with death. It is a part of life, you are born to live then die. It happens to us all.

    I do however agree that you close your comments waaaaaay to early. Even if I don’t comment sometimes I like to read what others think about your topics.

    Have a groovy day!

  • Julie

    Thank you.

  • Krystal

    Thank you so much for that link. Those photos are beautiful,haunting,sad and meaningful all at the same time.
    Death is just another phase in time and this photos show that clearly.

    I want to go outside and just breath in deeply and let all the troubles I have take a break and just live life.

  • http://nohipsters.blogspot.com Molly

    I’m glad I looked at these. They are lovely, and terrible, and powerful in a way that only death can be. Thank you for showing this to us.

  • Heidi

    I was nervous when I clicked the link to the photos; maybe slightly afraid that I would see something disturbing. I’m glad to have found something very pleasant and unexpected – the beauty, the peacefulness, the wisdom.

    It’s amazing to read the varying levels of acceptance. I hope that I can make peace with death when my moment arrives.

    Thank you for sharing. It’s an amazing reminder to LIVE now.

  • http://cookeatfret.com claudia @ cookeatfret.com

    amazingly hauntingly beautiful
    death is inevitable

    would the birth of a baby disgusted mimi equally?

  • Jill

    What a beautiful work.

    We are so far removed from death in our culture. We pay someone to take care of it for us so we remain detached. We no longer bathe and care for our loved ones after they die, laying them out in the living room for a last visit. Not saying we should all be laid out in the living room, but it is a cultural disconnect that has robbed us greatly. There is so much about life we learn through death.

    Thanks. It really helped with the metaphysical crisis of the day ;-)

  • HDC

    A very poignant collection and tasteful in every way. If anyone can’t handle it, then they have much maturing to do.

  • http://www.rebelliousarabgirl.net Rebellious Arab Girl

    I don’t understand why someone would call you chicken shit for not allowing comments on this post. The link was posted on Digg’s main page this morning before you even posted it here. I think people just wanted to open a discussion and wanted to do it on your site, and they wanted something to talk about.

    If you haven’t seen this then check it out. http://www.markstoryphotography.com/
    It’s quite magnificent the way the pics and their life stories.

  • http://www.iprettymuchhateeverything.com Torrie

    I thought they were beautiful.
    And as someone who recently lost her father to cancer, they really touched me.
    I wanted to photograph my father at the end, but he wouldn’t let me. He was too embarrassed.

  • Jessica

    I have always been a bit scared of death. Maybe because I fought hard to beat cancer at its own game. But tonight I was taught that the Aztecs accepted death as a large part of life and even celebrated it. I think that it is easier to think about death as more of a transition the an ending. These photos and comments showed the transition in a very human way. Thanks for the incite Heather.

  • Alex

    Thank you for sharing… it was beautiful in it’s own right. I think it really points out how beautiful life is and how it needs to be cherished. People insulted by REALITY need a reality check for themselves.

  • http://swedenland.wordpress.com Nikky

    I think I “enjoyed” reading the text next to the pictures more than reading the pictures. You see when the picture was taken, and sometimes only weeks later the person was gone. I think the one that struck me the most was about the lady seeing the little men trying to take her away, “I’m not ready to die!” I usually don’t tear up at things on the internet, but if you read those I think you’d have to be close to heartless to not. =\

  • Ally

    I’d understand if you posted pictures of gory deaths or murder scenes, but this is artistic. Art is supposed to push your limits and make you think, it’s meant to be controversial. These photos are tactful and beautiful, maybe it’s just her personality that’s nauseating.

  • Terri Sinclair

    Facinating. Incredible. The past three years have been difficult ones, I’ve lost many family members, the latest died this past Christmas Day. I’m having many “death issues” and not dealing well with the, at times, overwhelming feelings of grief. I’m in awe of the people in the photos and their stories. Thoughts of their families and loved ones have been on my mind all day. What a thin, thin line there is between life and death. How one moment you’re “here” and the next you can be “gone.”

    Some days I think “how will I die?” Will I be sick? Will I be in a car accident? Will I suffer? Will I know in advance? How old will I be? Is it better to know? Is sudden death easier somehow?

  • Aiki

    I couldn’t look. I’m a photographer and I still couldn’t look. I am terrified of death. :(

  • Jeanette

    I found them really disturbing and sad, yet I looked through all 22…so who knows what that really means. I kept thinking “why am I looking at these, they are making me so depressed?” Some of the accompanying quotes were heart-breaking. It was definitely one of the more difficult things I’ve looked at on the internet in a long time.

  • http://www.unrequitedlife.wordpress.com Lindsay

    Wow. Just…wow.

  • http://www.italiantrivia.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Thanks for sharing the link. These are stunning portraits, and the photographer’s commentary is incredibly respectful and poignant.

    What surprised me most was that many of the subjects are more expressive in their portraits after death than they were before. Amazing.

  • Nat W

    Not disturbing at all. Why are people so uncomfortable with death? I’d never seen my grandma look so peaceful than at her open-casket funeral.

  • Dawn

    I was incredibly moved and saddened by the photos. Mostly because of how many of the subjects seemed to regret that they hadn’t lived life to the fullest and felt it was taken from them much to soon. I am in tears right now because I’m afraid one day I’ll end up like them: dying before I’ve had the chance to live.

  • http://www.goodbooksnw.com Hillary Hyde

    They are beautiful. I appreciate your bringing them into so many people’s lives.

    My partner died 4 years ago and my father last year. It is an odd thing being with the body of some one you know so intimately once they die. Their body does change so quickly. I have photos of both men in their death. It comforts me when i question whether those deaths actually took place…. I don’t find it morbid, but rather another piece of who they are. I agree that it is similar to being with someone who is being born.

    Did you know that there used to be a whole field of death portraits? When travel was more difficult, it was one of the ways that people could have verifiable confirmation of a person’s death. Imagine being a pioneer with family back in “civilization” that you couldn’t get to easily or quickly. I’ll bet people used to cherish those portraits…

  • SwissBarb

    Beautiful pictures, full of intensity, respect, and peace. Illness and death are not to be hidden, they are a part of life.

  • Kris

    Note to Mimi:

    It’s not like Heather didn’t give you any warning. My kindergartener could understand what “portraits before and after death” means.

    You’re probably one of those people who sues companies because their coffee is too hot for you…or because their cheeseburgers made you fat.

    Sunshine and rainbows can be found on the Teletubbies site. Perhaps you should head over there.

  • Mary in NC

    The after pictures seem very peaceful to me. Some of the before pictures have so much torment in the eyes– or maybe I’m projecting that. I can’t imagine how you live minute to minute for those last weeks and days and hours, just knowing and waiting.

    I’m afraid I’d plug into mindless television just to forget for a while and then miss saying the things I need to say. I think these people are very lucky because someone recorded these moments and what they were thinking.

    Thanks for posting this.

  • Manda

    I am not going to lie, that made me very sad and uncomfortable. But sometimes people need to feel sad and uncomfortable to remind them that they are human.

  • thera

    I am glad that Mimi emailed if only because it opened up the comments, and we, your readers, have obviously had strong visceral reactions to the pieces. As we should. And sharing those reactions has been immensely helpful. So thank you Mimi for bringing about unintentional solidarity.

  • Court

    I personally thought they were beautiful like many others have said. They were not what I expected and most of them looked peaceful…

    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://tsheva.deviantart.com Tracye

    And oops cause I meant Mimi’s email not yours Heather because who writes themselves an email complaining about oh, whatever?

  • lostinutah

    I won’t look at them, based on your description, so why would she? You definitely have the right to post whatever you want!

  • http://www.intuitivedesigns.net Naomi Niles

    That was extremely touching and fascinating at the same time. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  • JessicaP

    everyone looked so serne, and dare I even say happy in Death. Makes me fear it a little less, now. But only a little. I hope when my time comes I’m as ready for it as the people in the portraits seemed to be.

  • Anonymous

    it reminded me of watching my grandparents die. i lost 3 of them while i was in college. but it’s actually kind of a positive memory. not losing them, of course, but there are definite advantages to knowing its coming. i’m very thankful that i took a week of my winter break one year to help my mom care for my grandmother. half of my spring break another year to try and cook something my grandfather would eat. came home on weekends and talked to my grandfather about how he met my grandmother.

    watching death is not comfortable, but you can’t look away.

  • http://2witchesblog.wordpress.com Mama Kelly

    I found these images to be powerful and moving … and in a way starkly beautiful. Death comes to us all, it is one of the few things that truly unites us, and for many of us it is only something we see in the non-reality of a funeral parlor. I personally commend this photographer for his work!

  • Anonymous

    My mom died 2 years ago and I was afraid to go into her room after she was gone. I was scared that I would remember her that way instead of seeing the grace she had while she was living.

    Thanks for this.

  • Linda

    Sometimes it isn’t bad to take 1/2 hour out of your day to think about the life lessons that become so apparent when facing death. These pictures weren’t so much about death, but were about the lives of the people portrayed. They shared their stories and their thoughts with the world. This isn’t meant to be disturbing or nauseating, I think that this is a beautiful celebration of the lives of these people. Their images are depicted very tastefully and professionally and this lets some of their last words of wisdom live on, even after their passing.

    I love reading funny and happy stories every day, but again, this shows everyone that your site is about REAL life and unfortunately, death is a very large part of this real life. It would be beneficial to read these people’s brief stories and take a few minutes to appreciate the life that we’ve been given.

    Thank you for posting a site that I would definitely not have found on my own. It forced me out of my comfort zone, but I was riveted until I made it though the entire piece.

  • Ramona


    The pictures were stunning and hauntingly beautiful. The stories were uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. And I’m keeping this link with me, because I have had cancer, and I’ve got heart problems, and other, even more boring stuff, and I know that someday, maybe soon, it will be my turn. I don’t really fear death, but I don’t look forward to pain, either. These faces, though, they tell me that even the worst pain will eventually go away. I can’t tell you how comforting this is, even though I’m writing this through tears. Bless you.

  • Snithia


    Sigh. Get some therapy. This is not about your so-called “comment.” I don’t think it’s real. You are desperate for attention and are a professional “blog baiter.” Goad goad goad, that’s your game.

    The problem is, is that you’re boring in the way mean teenagers are boring. I’m sure that all these reactions feel good–negative or not.

    There’s a huge irony here, in how all this developed and you better wise up:

    If anything, you should have learned from this exhibit that you need to decide NOW what you want your life to be about. Do you want your life to be all about being some Internet mosquito trying to get attention by purposely saying mean dumb things?

    I guess so. Oh well. It’s your life.

    ‘Cause guess what, you’re gonna die too someday.”


  • http://funkybrownchick.com funkybrownchick

    I think the pictures are online and you have a right to link to what you’d like … and, your blog is YOUR blog; you have the right to open or close comments as you wish. :)

  • Anonymous

    Interesting, since I am not a fan of viewing dead people, even family – that I found it very calming. I too, was hoping that just one would not die. I loved the stories and found myself sad when I read about the lady who stated that she never wanted to live until she knew she was goin to die. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://redumbrellla.blogspot.com/ Bella Rum

    I found them disturbing. I looked at a few, and felt as if I was prying. That’s what art is though. It moves the observer and often provokes. I understand your comment, “Having looked at every photo I feel like I need to get up, walk outside and let the sun hit my face for a while.”

    I care for my elderly father, and perhaps they touched a cord at which I don’t wish to look too closely. I did not find them disrespectful. Disturbing, evocative and somber,yes, but not disrespectful. I suppose a project of this nature could very easily be.

  • http://kiwords.blogs.com/ Kira

    People die. I will die. You too. Even our babies. It’s a huge fact to wrap your mind around, but it is a fact.
    I didn’t find it nauseating. It was…true.

  • Fiona

    I found these photographs, and the text accompanying them, fascinating, enlightening, troubling and comforting, all at the same time. I really appreciate your providing us the link to them — this is something I would never have stumbled upon myself. I think our society has a very ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand attitude towards death — we try to sanitize it and hide it away. In my view, it would be much healthier if we all had a more realistic view of death and dying, and things like this are a step in the right direction.

  • Megan

    Amazing photographs. Thank you for finding the site and posting it. Mimi has no clue and obviously should not have viewed the site. The photos and the stories of the people are actually very inspiring. They make me realize how lucky I am to be alive and have friends and family that love me!

  • Alli(oop)

    If you notice, they only show you 22 photos of the series. In the essay, the photographers mention the youngest subject, who was only 17 months old.
    I would have liked to have seen those before and after shots.

  • a

    had to click the link after mimi’s big rant. what a moving and beautiful piece. thank you.

  • Jessica

    I think it’s a beautiful photo essay. These were clearly very respectfully done.

    I’m going to echo the feelings of many other readers and ask: Mimi from Oakland, what gives? Are you too busy trying to use your asshole to turn coal into a diamond that you completely missed the point?

    Oh, sorry, *that* was nauseating, wasn’t it?

  • Jameykay

    As a photographer/photo student I am highly inspired by those images. They show such a bright side of the darkness through the use of life and death with photography. I think that series is brilliant. It didn’t make me nauseous, it made me want to cry. The images should inspire everyone to live their lives to the fullest because one could never know what will happen in the end.

  • http://www.asquareview.blogspot.com Jbo

    I’m continually amazed at the audacity of some people who comment about things on your site… especially when they demean and belittle something so poignant. These are real people… real people who willingly shared their experience with death that we might see and listen to their story. Those who don’t have the compassion to appreciate are the real chicken shits. Thanks for sharing, Dooce!