I write this from the coffee shop where I was with Lucia the day she told me she quit her job. Her corporate job. Her well paying corporate job. She told me she couldn’t do it anymore or perhaps more accurately — she couldn’t not do photography anymore. Lucia had enjoyed her life behind a camera for decades. Arguably since the day she was born. Now, she told me, she was going to do it.
She was very clear about this.
I thought she had lost her freaking mind.
Before and since this day at the coffee shop I have watched friends and strangers alike admire Lucia’s work. But, since that day I have seen what so many of her admirers do not – the incomprehensible sacrifices she makes to do it.
I have seen Lucia sell her furniture, her possessions, her car, her bed. I have watched her not go out. Not get another drink. I have watched her knowing that she knows, that corporate job, that stable paycheck – are all a phone call away. In the times where I feel she might just put everything on Craig’s List I have tried mentioning this to her. I mention the 401K, the health insurance, the stability, the stress free lifestyle, the SALARY.
But, Lucia – just puts more things on Craig’s List.
Recently, her house went up there.
This is Lucia.
Lucia is true. True to herself. True to others. True to her art. It is through the camera that Lucia shows the world her (and other’s) truth and I feel there is no better representation of this truth and this honesty with which she lives than with her Life Project. A project that records the last moments of living. A project in which she takes photographs of those in hospice, those who have been diagnosed as terminally ill, and those who, at times, have only hours remaining in their lives.
When she told me about this project it felt painful, morbid, desperately awkward. Then she told me the story of seeing her mother in the hospital.
Lucia was born in Venice. She lives in Colorado. When her mother was in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer Lucia went home to see her. When she walked in the hospital, she saw her mother lying in bed. Her mother was bald. She had tubes sticking out of her. Lucia burst into tears. Her mother looked at her – and smiled. In this moment Lucia understood sickness and death are scariest for those who watch it. It was this moment that inspired the Life Project.
Lucia does the Life Project to bring social awareness to end of life care. She does it because she sees profound beauty and peace where most would only see death. She does it because she believes in living. Because she believes in life. She does it because she believes there is as much life in the first breath as there is in the last. She does it because she believes in each moment of life and, because she wants more than anything to record the beauty of these moments.
Lucia will not accept money for this project and as such finances are tight. She is not able to be with her family in Italy for the holidays. I would love nothing more than to give Lucia something to open on Christmas that would not only support her as a photographer but would celebrate how Lucia lives her life and how she unabashedly celebrates, in all of its stages, the lives of so many others.
Lucia’s Life Project can be viewed at: http://lucia.zenfolio.com/mylife/
Lucia’s other work can be viewed at: http://luciadegiovanni.com/