The Proximity of Mortality
A Visual Artist’s Journey Through Cancer
Photographs and writing by Stephen L Starkman
Praise for The Proximity of Mortality
He reminds us that the future is unknown to all of us. As such, this project is a call to live in the moment, to acknowledge that the universe is vast and that we are all bits of matter that exist long after our bodies are put to rest.
In Stephen Starkman's new book of photographs, The Proximity of Mortality, he balances metaphoric landscape vistas with documentary depictions of medical environments, supporting this powerful dialogue with well-chosen poems and personal commentaries. The book design and sequencing create a stunning impact.
Your decision to continue creating and try to leave a positive result behind in the world is a brave and noble one. I think the book is very powerful and congratulate you on it.
Stephen, I'm so excited to see more of your book. I was introduced to your work through a Lenscratch piece. I'm so moved by how you are seeing your experience through photographs. Your images evoke a lot of feelings around so many different parts of the uncertainties of life. I'm in awe of your artwork and know this will be a treasured book for the rest of my years. I wish there were more pieces like yours in the world that make us think about the grief we carry around during our time here on this planet.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm so grateful.
Your book arrived in the mail and what can I say but OH WOW! OMG I am sitting here looking through the book and I am crying. You have me speechless and that no easy feat. 🤣🤣 You are incredible and what an inspiration you are is all I can say.
Thank you thank you!!!
I am in awe.
Stephen – just received your book. It is GEORGOUS. Thank you for making it. It is a gift to so many.
I watched the webinar and just wanted to tell you that I was very touched by your presentation. You have gone where many of us fear to go, and you have done it with great creativity and grace, not only with the visuals, but also in the quotes, in the way you involved others in your project. I salute you and also your loving wife who has given you great advice. We are in this world for a very short time. Even for those of us that are not suffering from a cancer diagnosis, death is always at our door and what you have to offer can benefit all of us. Well done!
Stephen, I just finished going through your book. Wow! It is so powerful! As a cancer survivor it brought back so many memories. Of course, I have my own interpretation of the images which are incredible. The book is so well done. You have set the bar so high as a photo art book that anyone wanting to make a book of their own should use yours as inspiration. I cannot thank you enough for your efforts to create this story.
I had the chance to read/view your book. It touched me deeply on many levels. As an art therapist, I am very familiar with the concept of visual language. When I looked at the images, I did not focus on the quality or characteristics of the photographs (although I realize that they are all works of art by a seasoned, skilled artist). I focused on the meaning- what the images meant to me, what they brought to my mind, which emotions they evoked. Against a backdrop of grief and mortality, I let the images speak to me. I let my heart and mind react unbidden. The essays, poems, and pictures of you, added texture and richness to my experience-allowed me to connect with your journey in a way that felt direct and personal. I have had anxiety about death and dying as far back as I can remember, and I also deal with suicides and traumatic grief daily, in my work with Indigenous communities. Your book helps me to look at death, dying and grief from new perspectives. It's such an important work. Thank you for creating it and sharing your experience.
A lovely, poignant and beautiful book Stephen. You’ve touched me with your artistry, humour and humility.
As someone who once wore a radiation mask for stage four cancer in my neck, your story and stunning images resonate powerfully for me, and I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
Stephen Starkman’s powerful work lays bare for us, what may be the very last steps of his life’s journey, we find ourselves pitched over an edge and hovering over the great abyss. Through his lens we are offered a glimpse of the very essence of life, revealed and magnified - fleeting and delicate and desperately beautiful.
I just got and read The Proximity of Mortality. WOW! It’s a super tribute to your being. How do I phrase my response? Words fail me. Impressive, inspirational, moving, insightful, impactful. An eternal gift to provide a visual document by which you will always be remembered.
About this Book:
A Monograph of Stephen L Starkman’s book The Proximity to Mortality: A Visual Artist’s Journey Through Cancer is now available. Stephen was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the spring of 2021. His book photographically explores documentary and metaphorical imagery set beside shared quotes and poetry of cancer survivors.
About the Contributors:
Nicholas J Petrelli, M.D. is a surgical oncologist and the Bank of America endowed medical director of ChristianaCare’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute and associate director of translational research at Wistar Cancer Institute. He also serves as Associate Editor of Surgical Oncology for HemOnc Today.
is a visual artist, educator, and editor based in Los Angeles, California. She is widely exhibited and is also the founder of the celebrated photography journal, Lenscratch.
Jonathan Blaustein is an artist, writer, and educator based in Taos, New Mexico. He has exhibited his work widely in galleries and museums the US, and festivals in Europe. His photographs reside in several important collections, including the Library of Congress, the State of New Mexico, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
96 pages, 45 color photographs
Trim size: 12” wide x 11” tall
$70.00 US Dollars plus shipping
$85.00 Canadian Dollars plus shipping