Last week, I was sent to a western suburb of Chicago to photograph Kurt Perry (not his real name).
Perry, who suffers from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder, a common inherited neurological disorder that weakens muscles in the extremities, had decided in February to end his life.
Perry had been receiving emotional support from the right to die organization Final Exit. Final Exit volunteers are present but don’t participate in the “hastening of death” as they call it.
Perry had chosen February 26th as his last day but less than 24 hours earlier Georgia law enforcement officials stopped an assisted suicide and froze Final Exit’s assets.
Perry didn’t want to go it alone so he delayed his plans.
When I arrived for the shoot, I knew that I couldn’t use the name or town of residence of Kurt so I wasn’t sure if I could show his face either.
As it turned out I could. I pressed for documentary style but Kurt decided that he only wanted to do a portrait.
I photographed Kurt inside a bit but then took him outside by a leafless tree. My favorite image of the morning was one where Kurt’s face was out of focus and the tree was in focus.
For other photos and the story go HERE on chicagotribune.com.