Lauren Simonutti, a layout spread from "Drowning Not Waving – 31 Attempts at a Justification for Suicide", 2003

Lauren Simonutti, a layout spread from “Drowning Not Waving – 31 Attempts at a Justification for Suicide”, 2003

Lauren Simonutti

Ask me nicely and I’ll tell you what I’m thinking. Get to know me better and I’ll tell you what I feel. I won’t quite get my meaning across and you won’t quite understand, but we’ll both feel better for the effort.

Fewer than twenty percent of suicides leave a note. More probably make the effort, but find the results inadequate, the futile attempt at describing logically a desperate and illogical act rejected. Contained in this series are case studies of individuals who, feeling their lives had failed, ended them; and finding that words failed, abandoned them.

The police arrive, photograph the scene, make a preliminary determination as to the cause of death, mark the location of the body and send it away. It is stripped. The corpse is turned inside out, the contents removed and weighed, then discarded. The deceased’s clothing is examined, pockets turned inside out, the contents removed and recorded, then returned to the next of kin in a plastic evidence bag for which one is required to sign.

The following case studies contain a concise history, snapshot and photographic documentation of what was recovered from the pockets, found clutched in the hands, or arranged to be the last thing the deceased would see on this earth, in the hope that the objects will speak to us in lieu of the notes that were not left.

Lauren Simonutti ( Baltimore , MD ) graduated from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia , in 1990 with a BFA in Photography and a crippling addiction to alcohol. She then moved to NYC where her degree enabled her to attain numerous positions in the food service, cocktail waitressing, and bartending industries. The mid to late 90’s introduced her intimately to the world of medicine including intensive care, orthopedics, physical therapy, wheelchairs (primarily single arm propelled), adjustable dial leg braces, bone growth stimulation (a phrase she finds amusing), titanium steel insertion rods and repeated reconstructive surgery, as the result of her introduction through and rapid expulsion from the windshield of the car that ran her over as she was walking home. Throughout, it all – events, injuries, individuals, dreams, nightmares, life, still life, and visions of afterlife – has been faithfully recorded, processed, printed and when necessary toned, painted or otherwise altered and exhibited throughout the East Coast. The most concise series of which has been placed in book form and was recognized as a finalist for the Honickman First Book Prize in 2003, though still in need of a publisher. Entering the 21st century she finds herself relatively intact and ineptly sober, having purchased and trying to hold onto a delicate wreck of a house, which has become her primary model and largest work in progress thus far.