Physician-turned-photographer Documented Lives Revealed in Dallas Estate Sales

There's a compelling-if-morbid vanity in imagining your own funeral: The tears and tributes, the loving accolades, the fond anecdotes. There's a reassurance that when it's over, your life will have had meaning. You do not ponder your estate sale. Why would you? A lifetime's accumulated possessions reduced to stray crumbs; the brutal liquidation of your belongings to so much pocket change. It's the funeral's negative image: Impersonal, commercial, briskly unsentimental. We might want to think our family and friends will claim all our leftovers as treasured mementos, but few of us travel so lightly. Norm Diamond has examined hundreds of lives through their postmortem possessions, the contents of attics and closets and bureau drawers ruthlessly turned out and assembled for quick sale. In his second career as art photographer, he spent a year touring Dallas estate sales. The result is a deeply affecting collection of photographs of What Is Left Behind - Stories From Estate Sales, the title of his book to be formally released in May. The objects he captured are ordinary, odd, heartbreaking, or sometimes a combination thereof. They represent an intimacy that Diamond consciously denied himself during a 30-odd year career as an interventional radiologist at Baylor University Medical Center. "When you are around very sick people day in and day out, your worldview is definitely darker," says Diamond. After he retired in 2012, he said, the camera allowed him to begin examining the emotions that doctors of his era were trained to shut out. Every photo poses its own fill-in-the-blank story: Who was this person? What did this object mean to him or her? Why didn't someone want to keep it?   Continue reading...

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