Half-life focuses on the life and suicide of a close friend and my relationship with her.
The book project is comprised of photographs and collected writings that Lauren and I shared throughout the six years we knew each other, and photographs and documents created now, after. Having been confronted by a haunting absence, I want to make evidence of her with my photographs. It is a challenging process to try to document something that is no longer here. I intend it as an investigation of loss and a look into the liminal space between deterioration and permanence, memory and photography. My process of examination is slow and reflective; my understanding of Lauren and the loss is achieved in part by visiting and revisiting sites that became markers of our relationship, influenced by the passage of time.
The book costs $75 so sadly I have not seen it in the form that Jay Muhlin has curated: he makes photo books.
There are 20 images on his website and there are 147 pages in the photo book. Most of the photographs on the website are landscapes; one can assume that they are places that they had been to together when Lauren was alive. However, just through the 20, there are some startling images such as this one. Immediately, the connotations I drew from this beaten in door was the desperation of family to get into the room I assumed is where Lauren commits suicide. Although I do not know this to be true. This would be a very difficult time for the family, having to grieve and come to terms with her sudden self inflicted death; and then having the physical proof of their desperation to save her.
Suicide is very delicate, some people argue it is selfish. Others admit that at least they are at peace. This series of work is obviously after the suicide and appears very empty I suppose. There are portraits of Lauren but they are distorted and/or blurred like she is just a memory now. This is obviously a very personal piece of work to Muhlin following his grief and journey, a first hand view of how suicide affects others: relatives and friends.