based in Washington DC
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Elizabeth Cheng Krist was a long-time photo editor with National Geographic . She curated the Women of Vision exhibition and book, as well as an auction for Christie’s. Elizabeth has judged...
It’s rare for most of us to think about death from day to day. We are immersed in the energy and distractions of plans, work, entertainment, and deadlines. But it is one certainty we all share: death will be a part of our lives. Many feel that the more we integrate death as a natural condition of living, the easier it will be to contemplate the end of life as we age. Others prefer to keep any hint of death from entering their consciousness until the last possible moment. Some believe that death is a second birth, a transition to another phase of existence.
Whatever your beliefs, we would like you to share with us your visual interpretation of this inescapable event. Our intention is for this assignment to cover the broadest parameters, and we welcome images of any aspect of dying--whether caring for loved ones in their last days, expressing rage at the unfairness of imminent death, funerary rituals, significant objects left behind, the despair of mourning, the loss of a beloved pet, the remembrance of one you’ve lost no matter how long ago—even acceptance and celebration of a life well lived. Show us how death has affected you.
In our April issue, National Geographic features two companion stories on dying. One on how science is re-examining the traditionally accepted thresholds of death, and the other on unusual customs and attitudes toward death in one particular culture. We would like to invite you to add your voice to the conversation, in one of the most intimate and direct ways possible – visual expression.
Our hope is that you will be imaginative in your interpretation of dying, and what it means to you. The only thing we ask is that you avoid the superficial. Give us intensity, and your emotion, as you contemplate one of life’s true mysteries.
…when death comes like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
This assignment will be closing at 5pm EST on April 11th.