Life After Death

 

These are photographs of the hair from my mother’s brush.  She died over the summer, after a struggle to live with lung cancer for two years. 

 

When we were going through her things at my parents’ apartment I knew I needed to take her hairbrush.  I have been photographing hair and dust for years now in an ongoing project, Cosmic Dust, and I immediately knew I wanted to photograph my mother’s hair.  I did it, but the emotions I felt while I was making the images did not come through.  They were just photos of hair.  However, as I scrolled through the separate images on my computer they suddenly started to dance before my eyes -  as I moved from one image to the next, they seemed to be leaping and growing and shrinking and morphing from form to form.  They became my mother’s spirit, embodied in the most intimate of particles, hair and DNA, moving through various incarnations...changing, becoming, growing, dancing, going.  I could see her, feel her, and sense her as I watched the forms move and change. Some of the images reminded me of 19th century spirit photography, which felt like it made perfect sense.  

 

I have been so perplexed and bewildered ever since July needing desperately to know what happens when we die.  I’ve wondered about this on and off over the years, but never with such a profound need to know. Of course it is impossible.  But I have my ways of searching anyway.  Groping, grasping, hoping, remembering.