Liminality

Updated: May 26

Liminality

[lim-uh-nal-i-tee]

—The transitional period or phase of a rite of passage, during which the participant lacks social status or rank, remains anonymous, shows obedience and humility, and follows prescribed forms of conduct, dress, etc.

I am dying. You are too. We may not die tomorrow, or the day after, or for years to come, but it is a simple fact of life; with life, comes death.

What happens when we die? By this I am not asking whether there is heaven or hell, or God, or reincarnation. In the most straightforward sense, what happens when we die? A doctor must pronounce us dead, sign a certificate of death, and our loved ones begin the grieving process. The first step in this process is to contact a funeral home or crematory to take care of the decedent. But who are those who work with death really taking care of? The dead? Or the living who are left behind?

Photography is inextricably connected to death. Every photograph captures death: the death of a moment of time. To quote Susan Sontag, “Life is a movie; death is a photograph.”

In Western culture it is taboo to talk about death. We fear death, we avoid it, we hold on to life at all costs. These images force us to confront death, to contemplate the inevitable, to consider our own mortality.




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