Deadlines approaching – DESPERATE MEASURES

The deadline for having final selection of images -for print, video and postcards was approaching very fast and I was not quite there yet. To my disappointment there was no funerals lined up and I still haven’t had the guts to contact Dove House Hospice.
I wrote an emergency plan and was keen to get more images

The plan:

  • re-visit Anlaby Cemetery
  • risk and pop down to Dove House Hospice. No time for writing and sending a proposal.
  • ask my good, old friend to look into his families photographs and maybe ask him for a portrait.
  • ask a friend of mine if I can photograph her mum’s ashes. She did offer that while back, so I might as well take the opportunity.
  • advertise for elderly couples to re-create my grandparents image [see below.]


The outcome:

Anlaby Cemetery re-visit

This time when much more familiar with the surroundings I was feeling certain that I could get some good images. But the grave yard was nearly empty and I was feeling less enthusiasm.

I approached a young lady and asked if she wouldn’t mind answering few questions. Never mind -I had no clue what questions, as only thing I wanted to ask – can I take a picture with you and the grave you are visiting. She probably sensed that something is not right and asked me to leave. Great!

I kept wondering around, re-visiting graves and thinking about the next move. A  young couple arrived and I took my place behind a bush.
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I felt like I was reaching a dead end. I can’t no longer be hiding in the shadow. Unless I get a permission, I’ll try to avoid photographing people spending precious time with their loved ones that have passed away.

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Dove House Hospice drop in

That did not went that well either as I was really pushing it by asking if there is a possibility to hear some people stories. But they did not refused to help, they gave me a direct contact and asked to call the next day.

The next day I embraced the fact that I am really, really desperate for project progress, I need to work on the vision I have for the project and final images in the exhibition..so I rang them. I had to deal with a voicemail and I left a message, trying to explain what I would like to do and what is my project about.
By a surprise I got a call back an hour later. Brilliant news – Dove House Hospice staff have been talking about me since the radio and paper appearance. They were planning to contact me and see how we can help each other. I was buzzing for the rest of the day.
For such a long time I was really intimidated to get an instant rejection and never had the courage to ring up Dove House Hospice. The good news meant two things – my project will have a future and someone is thinking about the End Of Life the same way I do, at least in the terms of the project.

John and his Irish mother

I asked John for a portrait, because I knew that he won’t be able to resist. Also he has had a colourful life, he has travelled around parts of the world and worked in psychiatric nursing for years. Now is retired, lives with his best friend and is a passionate gold fish/tropical fish keeper and collector, also massive cat lover.

I always liked his face, it tells a story of a kind, his hair cut is also bonkers, so I thought to capture the personality, great life lived and by having a photograph of his mother and him  young just allows us to remember about our heritage. Because we all have those kind of photographs, we can all relate to them.

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There was no polishing the room up, no tidy ups only the true looks of the moment.
I might not have the picture of the year, but I have something that will keep him in my memory for forever, the story of the day, of him will remain recorded in this image.

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He asked me if he needs to be smiling. I said: “Only if he feels like smiling.” He replied: “No, not really”, but when I smiled whilst photographing him, I got a faded smile in his face. Lovely.

Toni and her mum’s ashes

Toni or Antonia offered me to photograph her mums ashes when I told her about my weird ways of looking at what happens when we die – what happens to the body.
As I was not too sure, if I can photographically achieve something for my project, I never paid a visit.
At this stage I had to be even more open minded and explore options. Being cremated in my opinion is the best way for everyone-myself, family and planet earth. So why shouldn’t I look into the cremation and explore why people make this kind of choice. The exploration can start with Toni and her kind offer. I imagine that it is hard to allow a stranger into your own grief, but she openly talked about her mum, her death and struggles that she had to cope with it.

I have never seen a cremated person ashes or the urn, so I was quite intrigued.
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I think that the best part of the experience was the presence. Toni gave me a weird way of freedom: I had the time to ask questions, photograph, absorb her surroundings and even smell the ashes.
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It was a nutty smell and I was not expecting it to be like that.
There was a bit of a sentimental moment for both of us that day.
Thank you Toni, I really, really appreciate your kind offer :¬

Advert on Facebook about Elderly Couple shoots. **FAIL**


I was keen to explore the life spent together with someone, every moment shared and cherished, through good and tough times – just like my grandparents.
I was offering flexible terms, hours, get myself independently to the location, free photographs, we can even arrange some prints- NOTHING, NADA, ZERO.

I did not like the lack of response, really annoyed, but this is unfortunately what you can get when doing things last minute, have no patience and expect everything drop to your doorstep in the flick.

Lesson learned.

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