Illustration of Life by Max Kandhola


In our unpredictable world there is one certainty upon which we can always rely; yet death, when it comes, is never easy. In this extraordinary body of work, Max Kandhola photographed his father in the final stages of terminal illness. His intensely personal and honest images confront us with the intimate and often painful reality of death.

Following his father’s diagnosis with cancer, Kandhola spent two years meticulously collecting and photographing fragments and debris from his chemotherapy treatment: samples of blood, urine, hair – and ultimately even the very ash from his cremation. These serenely beautiful abstract images form a counterpoint to the haunting final photographs made at his father’s bedside. Whilst photographing over a period of six hours, Kandhola unwittingly captured the brief moment just before and after his father’s death.

Some will see Illustration of Life as a macabre and even sensationalist attempt to shock. Kandhola sees it another way: as a memorial to a much-loved father, and an attempt to understand that loss. The result is a profoundly moving narrative that challenges our ideas of death and questions the way in which it is represented.


23.3 cm x 25.7 cm

65 Pages


Published by Impressions Gallery, Dewi Lewis Publishing and Light Work

ISBN: 0-935445-28-5

2 in stock