Photos of Terminally Ill People Before and After Death

German photographer Walter Schels' series Life Before Death presents captures of terminally ill individuals at the end of their lives and once again a short time after their deaths.

The subjects granted interviews with the photographer's partner Beate Lakotta in order for him to have context for his powerful images. The interviews were a jumble of daily life minutiae mixed with the existential ponderings that would be expected from those who are aware they are living out their final days.

A few of the peaceful postmortem photos seemed a relief to me, after the tense, distorted faces of some who were alive yet likely suffering in pain, discomfort and fear. 

Learn more about Schels' long, distinguished career and see more of his portfolio at his website.

Images Credit: Walter Schels 

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My father-in-law was comatose for weeks before he finally lost his battle to cancer. But even when he was pale and very near death, his face and body was very different then at (and after) the moment of death. There's definitely a very big difference between life and death, even if that "life" is just barely hanging by a thread.
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