This Photographer Captures His Painful Goodbye to His Father

“In April 2014, I took a photograph of my father, who was visiting my house in Kamakura. A doctor had recently diagnosed the 83-year-old with stage IV lung cancer but I hadn’t told him yet. I remember that… it was the first time I took a photograph of my father when I knew a secret about him, which he didn’t know himself. Over the next three years I continued taking photographs of my father. Each time I clicked the shutter I was sending a quiet message to him: ‘Please don’t die, Dad…’”

— Shin Noguchi

My father, 85-years-old, playing with Kotoyo, Sagamihara, May 2016.

My father, 86-years-old, after making food, Sagamihara, May 2017.

My father, 86-years-old, with 9-year-old nephew KenKen who has periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), Sagamihara, May 2017.

“This may be the last meal of his life he finished eating…’, my mother told me while showing a photograph she recorded, Sagamihara, July 2017.

My father, 87-years-old, Sagamihara, July 2017.

My father, 87-years-old, attended by my mother, Sagamihara, July 2017.

My family listens to his condition from a doctor, in the hospital, Sagamihara, July 2017.

My father, 87-years-old, was able to get home for the first time in three weeks, but was repeating the same thing the whole day, Sagamihara, August 2017.

My father, 87-years-old, with Hiking and KenKen, Sagamihara, August 2017.

‘Good night dad, see you soon,’ My father, 87-years-old, Sagamihara, August 2017.

This was the last shot I took before my father died…

A few weeks later I received an emergency call from my family and rushed to the hospital, but my father had already passed away, a while before I arrived.

To the hospital morgue, Sagamihara, September 6 2017.

In the hospital morgue, Sagamihara, September 6 2017.

In the crematory, Sagamihara, September 2017.

Out of the crematory, Sagamihara, September 2017.

When we came back to my parents’ house from the crematory, TV was broadcasting a special program about 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, Sagamihara, September 2017.

Kotoya, praying for grandpa, Sagamihara, September 2017.

Thank you, love you, and miss you, Dad.

HARUO NOGUCHI June 28 1930 – September 6 2017.

Shin Noguchi born 1976, is an award winning street photographer based in Kamakura and Tokyo, Japan.

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One response to This Photographer Captures His Painful Goodbye to His Father

Very moving! My dad passed away in May this year with pancreas cancer. I did not have the courage to picture him over the 8 months from diagnosis to his passing away. Will try to remember him from the images in my head.
I wish you and your family strength and love. “To be human is to know yourself to be living and dying at the same time.” (Stanley Kunitz)

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