Touching Portraits of People Facing Death with Acceptance and Peace
Article By Jenny Zhang, MyModernMet
Los Angeles-based photographer Andrew George’s series Right Before I Die is a powerful meditation on life and loss, featuring touching portraits of ordinary people living out their final moments in the face of impending death. Although the end of life is a concept that humans have struggled to confront for thousands of years, the terminally ill subjects of these photos are no longer afraid of dying. Rather, as George reveals in his portraits and in candid words from the subjects, these everyday heroes await death with heartbreaking acceptance and quiet courage.
George was inspired to create this series after the passing of his friend’s mother. “I marveled at how there was so much genuine love for her,” he explained to the Huffington Post. “She was, quite simply, one of the best people I’ve known, yet, regrettably, was no one you’d ever learn about if you didn’t know her because her material accomplishments did not include fame.” The photographer became interested in documenting those living with the knowledge of their impending deaths, those “unremarkable” people who went unnoticed at bus stops, on the sidewalk, and in the supermarket.
“These portraits convey my admiration of 20 men and women who face an impending death and do so with acceptance and peace,” says George. “I believe it takes real courage to accept that everything we see as so vital and integral to our lives will vanish. Some of us will have the fortitude to go beyond the fear of our mortality and confront this unknown journey bravely.”
For more portraits and excerpts from letters and interviews with the subjects, be sure to check out the project’s website.
Above: Josefina. “Life is the waiting room to death. We are just passing by because you already know that since we are born we are going to die and we have a specific day and we don’t know when or where or how—I feel calm, at ease, because I already know I am going, so every night I tell God, ‘You know what you are doing.’ I’m not scared of dying; I already lived many happy years.”
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