Dead Normal is about the final phase in the lives of human beings, and handles themes such as old age, illness and death. I started this project in 2001. It’s rooted in the fascination that developed from the activities I performed in my job as a nurse in the home-care sector and where I came frequent contact with this subject.
I regard the final phase in a person’s life as the most essentially important one, but I believe that western society has an unrealistic picture of the process of dying in general. By using the visual language of photographic imagery I want to show the vulnerable and Transitory nature of life. This is the reason why I find it important to photograph the subject in a simple, sensitive and transparent way. In as much as this can be achieved. I want to show reality as it reveals itself to me. This is one of the reasons I chose to take the photographs in color. Focal to the integrity of the project is the fact that the sitters and relatives cooperated fully and gave permission to publish the work. It has certainly never been my intention that the project should hurt or shock people. I have tried to visualize the subject in an honest way, showing respect abound and from the perspective of my own engagement. The title of the project Dead Normal evolved out of this perspective on its own, as it were.
By Wim van Ophem