In the late 1960’s, photographer Arthur Tress began a series of photographs that were inspired by the dreams of children. Tress had each child he approached tell him about a prominent dream of theirs which Tress would then artistically re-create and photograph with the child as the main subject.
“It’s quite an undertaking to start loving somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment right at the start where you have to jump across an abyss: if you think about it you don’t do it.”
the worst thing you can say to someone is ‘you’re too sensitive’ because that’s basically saying ‘you feel things more deeply and fully than i do and this inconveniences me because now i have to be more mindful of my own actions’
you’re not too sensitive, the world is just callous and stubborn. sensitivity doesn’t make you weak and callousness doesn’t make you strong.
Right Before I Die is a tearjerker. It’s a heartbreaking photo series by Andrew George that strikes at the very core of most people’s deepest fear, insofar as it is a series about death, but also manages to inspire, because it is about people who are staring down the great unknown with incredible acceptance and serenity.
And so the photo series, which features 20 terminally ill men and women in all, is not merely an exploration of death. It’s a tribute to the inner strength and peace that these “unremakable” — meaning their earthly accomplishments don’t include fame and fortune — and yet extraordinary people show in the face of death.
The project began after the mother of one of George’s friends passed away. He was astonished at the outpouring of love at her funeral, and began to wonder what it was about her that left such an impression on her friends and family.
This question ultimately led him to seek out those people who were living with terminal diagnoses, so that he could speak to them, get to know them, and, of course, photograph them.
The portraits he came away with are beautiful in a simple way, unadorned by props or strange effects, drawing you immediately into the eyes and stories of these pillars of inner strength. Every portrait, on the project’s site, is then accompanied by short excerpts from letters and conversations that he had with them about life, love, friends, family, regrets, forgiveness and more, all processed through the lens of approaching death.
In a foreward written for the project, Alain de Botton writes:
"The dying are the great appreciators. They notice the value of the sunshine on a spring afternoon, a few minutes with a grandchild, another breath… And they know what spoilt ingrates we are, not stopping to register the wonder of every passing minute. They were once like us of course. They wasted decades but now they are in a position to know of their folly and warn us of our own. Whether you take these images as warnings of the folly of living a distracted life, or simply as moving portraits that capture so much of these peoples’ souls in a single frame, is up to you. Just keep George’s words in mind as you scroll through the rest of the series below. These men and women were no different from any of us, and, sooner or later we would all be experiencing what they were.”
“When I say I want to travel I don’t mean I want to stay at resorts and go on tours with tour guides or buy key chains from souvenir shops. I don’t want to be a tourist. When I say I want to travel I mean I want to explore another country and become part of it. I want to discover small coffee shops in Germany and Italy and France. I want to walk on beaches in Australia and browse the book stores of England. I want to hike the Great Wall of China and go cliff diving in Hawaii I want to meet people who are not like me, but people who I can like all the same. I want to take pictures of things and places and people I meet. I want my mind to be in constant awe of life on earth. I want to see things with new eyes. I want to look at a map and be able to remember how I was transformed by the places I’ve been to the things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met. I want to come home and realize that I have not come home whole but have left a piece of my heart in each place I have been. This, I think, is what is at the heart of Adventure and this is why I plan on making my life one.”
You might’ve seen a recent piece published by Slate outlining exactly why readers should be a little more ashamed about their young adult book consumption. If not, here’s the gist: novels written for a teenage audience that are intende…
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”
“Not living in fear is a great gift, because certainly these days we do it so much. And do you know what I like about comedy? You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time—of anything. If you’re laughing, I defy you to be afraid.”