Embracing the Reality of Dying


Stirring photographs and statements by dying people.

Nowadays many people are living in fear of death – in particular in Western countries where the reality of death is being sterilised, camouflaged, not discussed, or repressed. Former generations were more familiar with death as their relatives would die among their families and loved ones, and even for children death was an accepted part of life then. Today the old, terminally ill and dying people are brought to hospitals and hospices where – although physically cared for – they often die alone.

Photographer Walter Schels and writer Beate Lakotta embarked on a quest to visit dying people in hospices in northern Germany – to speak with them and also asking for permission to take their photograph during their final days and after death.

In 2008 the photographs were shown in a London exhibition entitled ‘Life before Death’ which took more than one year to prepare. In this video, Schels and Lakotta relate their experiences and insights while speaking to the dying people, giving them one more opportunity to be heard.

We all know that we are going to die one day, but it is very difficult to believe that it will really happen to us. Our motivation for this project was to overcome our own fear of facing up to death. The project goes some way to explore this.

See the slideshow of the exhibits and read the touching and insightful short statements made by each person as posted in The Guardian: Life Before Death

Bhagawati, Osho News

Related article: This is the End

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