Daniel Kovalovszky— Insiders
Before I turned 29, I was only vaguely concerned about death, but life forced me to face it directly. The time came in 2008 when I lost my mother. Until then she was a vital force in my life, feeding me with energy and protecting me. I had to allow room for mourning and begin to process the loss in order to be able to live my life. One era closed and I became an adult, while ceaselessly wondering about things that might have happened to her after she departed. For a long time I couldn’t comprehend the fact that I won’t see my mother as a flesh and blood, living person. I might have been looking for the certainty that she is at a good place without pain and she still exists in her death. Though we don’t think about death day after day, it seems to be ceaselessly hovering above us. Nevertheless, we live our daily lives as if it was endless. Since we look at the body and the soul as inseparable entities, the thought of these two separating by death makes people worried. But what are we really afraid of? Is it the total end of existence or the continuation of life? After death, our physical body is perished, but what happens with the other part of the whole, the part we call the soul or sense. I’m looking for the answers to these difficult questions in terms of my subjective belief system.
The only way I believed would bring some breakthrough in dealing with my loss was to talk about death with people who were close to it or had experienced it in some way. The protagonists of my series were chosen irrespective of religious, existential or social affiliations. Their separate stories had many similarities: eternal love, a sense of peace, timelessness, meeting with relatives who had died earlier, a sense of a very strong but not blinding light and facing the consequences of their activities on Earth in an incredible way. Many of them felt their senses had reached perfection and were in the state of “infinite knowledge”. None of them wanted to come back from this element that seemed natural and familiar to them. Following recovery, their lives went through a radical change. Everything in their lives has been revalued and rearranged: their relations with others in quantity and quality, and their stand towards the material world and money. It became clear to them that in life nothing is more important than unrestricted love, forgiveness and knowledge.
Meeting these people fundamentally altered my attitude to life and death. Most of the disturbing questions received answers, uncertainty left me and the infinite space inside me has been replaced by solace and hope. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t have to face the loss of my mother every day, but it happens without feeling an endless pain as before. My series concerns the personal stories of people who have had near-death experiences. The photographs placed next to the portraits highlight a phase, a memento or a symbol taken from their stories. The subjective nature of the theme directed me to explain the unexplainable by creating a surreal atmosphere via the language of photography. The word-by-word quotations are equal in significance with the photographs, since they complement each other and create a comprehensive picture of the subject.