q

Photographer captures the future to deal with the present

While reeling from deaths in his family photographer Phillip Toledano visualised his worst fears into a future-looking photo series to help him confront his own mortiality.
After getting a DNA report, photographer Phillip Toledano created a future-looking series that visualized how his life panned out. (Phillip Toledano/mrtoledano.com)
Listen18:58

ArtistPhillip Toledano always considered himself a lucky man. "And when you're lucky you think you will always be this lucky," he says, until he found himself reeling from a spate of deaths in his family. In a short space of time many of his loved ones died, leaving him all alone confronting his own mortality.

Frightened by how uncontrollable life was but also tired of obsessing about it, the New York-based photographer took his fate into his own hands and imagined himself in his worst fears for the future.

(Phillip Toledano/mr.toledano.com)

Through the sometimes witty, sometimes depressing photo series, Maybe, he explores the possibilities of growing old alone and unattractive with the baggage of dashed dreams and withered abilities.

(Phillip Toledano/mr.toledano.com)

"Every part of this project was utterly miserable," he recalls admitting that it wasn't easy envisioning his worst outcomes for his life. But it helped him - he doesn't worry about the future like he used to.

(Phillip Toledano/mr.toledano.com)

Instead, he came to an unexpected and powerful realization — "you don't notice how the world begins to look at you differently [when growing old over time]," he says to guest host Candy Palmater. But as a result of the accelerated rate he aged himself he noticed it immediately. 

WEB EXTRA | The photo series was also the subject of a New York Times documentary called The Many Sad Fates of Mr. ToledanoWatch the full documentray below.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.