Suddenly Everything Matters - Portraits of the dying

foam magazine, 9.Dezember 2008


As Susan Sontag once mused, "all photographs are mememto mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person's mortality vulnerability, mutability." Today a photographic project such as Life Before Death may seem like a morbid pursuit, but from it's early history the photographic medium has offered distinctive documentation, acknowledgement and commemoration of death and the Aaron Schuman


Im Angesicht des Todes

21.Oktober 2008


Die Journalistin Beate Lakotta und der Fotograf Walter Schels stellten sich ihrer Angst vor dem Tod und gingen ins Sterbehospiz. Resultat war eine preisgekrönte Ausstellung über den Tod. Mit Beate Lakotta sprach Michèle Binswanger...

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Die Fotografen der Toten
Vivo, 19. April 2008

Der Fotograf Walter Schels und die Journalistin Beate Lakotta haben kranke Menschen in ihren letzten Lebensmonaten begleitet. Für ihre Ausstellung im Kunsthaus Hamburg haben sie ein Jahr lang in verschiedenen Hospizen gearbeitet. Die Ausstellung „Nochmal leben vor dem Tod“ zeigt eindrucksvolle Bilder über das Sterben ...

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Noch mal leben vor dem Tod
15. November 2004

Der Tod ist allgegenwärtig, doch das Sterben geschieht zumeist im Verborgenen. Die Journalistin Beate Lakotta und der Porträt- Fotograf Walter Schels haben eine bewegende Dokumentation geschaffen ...

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Letzte Fotografien. Totenbilder von Walter Schels
Von Thomas Macho, 1. November 2004

Die Fotografie fixiert den Augenblick, als wolle sie ihn einfrieren. Sie hält fest, was nicht festzuhalten ist: die Erscheinung einer Landschaft, eines Dings, eines Menschen. Indem sie den Zeitfluss unterbricht, vollzieht sie eine Art von Tötung ...

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This is the end
April 1, 2008

German photographer Walter Schels was terrified of death, but felt compelled to take these extraordinary series of portraits of people before and on the day they died. His partner Beate Lakotta recorded the poignant and revealing interviews with the subjects in their final days. The couple tell Joanna Moorhead how facing death changed how they felt about dying – and living

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Death portraits shared around the world
April 3, 2008

Two days ago, the Guardian published in G2, and on the website, a series of photographs by a German photographer, Walter Schels, and his partner Beate Lakotta. The subject matter was death: the pictures consisted of a series of portraits of people both before and - crucially - after death. In the hours after the pictures and article went online, the Guardian website experienced its busiest day ever trafficwise, much of it driven by users keen to see the pictures and to read the interviews ...

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How to stare death in the face
April 10, 2008

Walter Schels, an artist terrified of death, took a series of extraordinary portraits of 24 terminally ill people, before and after deat. The result is a profound and unforgettable show ...

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Before ... and after
April 11, 2008

The Wellcome Trust’s exhibition of portraits showing people shortly before and after their deaths finds both dignity and beauty in its subjects, says Brian Sewell ...

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Face to face with death
1 May 2008

When Heiner Schmitz was 52 he was told that he had a brain tumour. Seeing the scan he realized that he did not have long to live, but his friends continued to tell him to get well soon and to bring him the ingredients of bedside parties: beer, cigarettes and bright smiles ...

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Life before Death
May 2008

A compelling exhibition exploring death and the process of dying shows at the Wellcome Collection until 18 May. Lara Holmes speaks to the photographer Walter Schels, who collaborated on life before Death with his life partner, journalist Beate Lakotta ...

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Dying Art: Photographic memento mori
Vol 371, May 3 2008

„I’m not afraid“, declared Klara Behrens (1930 – 2004) a few weeks before she died. „The only thing that frightens me is the process of dying, You just don’t know, what actually happens.“ ...

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Faces of Life and Death
April 9, 2008

The faces of hospice patients before and after death are captured in a stirring art exhibit that opens in London this week. The collection of photographs is by German photographer Walter Schels, 72. They are accompanied by vivid and poignant interviews that his partner, Beate Lakotta, recorded with the portrait subjects in the final days of their lives ...

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One of the million, billion grains of sand in the desert Portraits before and after death
April 1 2008

These photos are simultaneously haunting and beautiful, and I've been riveted for the last half hour. 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. Be sure to read the text accompanying the photos. 1078 comments ...

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