Ellen Jacob's photographs of her friend Kay in the final stretch are currently showing at Soho Photo, here in New York City. In a personal yet completely relatable journey for the photographer, and following Kay's journey to the end which reflects so many inevitable others, she produced a quiet series, showing how her friend held herself dealing with terminal cancer.
"Life and death, the fragility of human connections, the certainty of the end; all are joined to what our spirits manifest as we confront our greatest losses, whether in our past, future or the elusive boundary between them - this precise moment.
"Waiting Room is a foray into this territory we all share. We know death is waiting; yet we persist. This work explores the waiting, the persistence and the places we live while dying. Places largely separated from life.
"Waiting Room project is about Kay. She was 54. She was dying of cancer. She soon found herself partly paralyzed. I visited her often. Everyone approaches death differently. Kay had an amazing dignity that grew from her acceptance of her situation. She knew she was dying; she could barely move. She knew her life was circumscribed by a bed on the 12th floor of a Manhattan nursing home.
"Sometimes Kay was happy, sometimes sad, sometimes angry. Dying, she remained very much alive. Waiting Room is the story of Kay's time at the boundary between life and death and the place where she spent that time. Through Kay's story, I tell the story of all of us." Ellen Jacob.
All images © Ellen Jacob