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‘The Last View': Beautiful, Unsettling Photos of Suicide Locations

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Golden Gate Bridge, CA (#1)

Donna_J_Wan_02

Stinson Beach, CA

“Death wooed us, by water, wooed us By Land …” — Louise Gluck, “Cottenmouth Country”

Landscape photographer Donna J. Wan’s imagery is hazy and unsettling, a strange transformation taking place when one understands the perspective of the view. Death Wooed Us is an ongoing documentation of suicide locations, each photo capturing a recorded spot where individuals chose to end their lives. Wan invites us to take an imagined look at the sweeping vision of people’s last moments, her lens purposefully gazing into the great beyond or falling down to the depths below.

The work developed from a deeply personal place, Wan herself developing postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter in 2011. It was then that the allure, loneliness and danger of these places began to haunt her as a possibility of escape. After her recovery, Wan learned that many people have similar inclinations to travel to far-off or well-known locations to end their lives. Researching frequent suicide points, Wan wandered up and down various areas near San Francisco Bay where the incidents took place. Though beautiful, the series does not intend to romanticize the extraordinarily violent nature of suicide, but offer a surreal glimpse into private, desperate moments of those who considered a life-altering choice.

Donna_J_Wan_11

Dumbarton Bridge, CA (#2)

Donna_J_Wan_12

Golden Gate Bridge, CA (#9)

Donna_J_Wan_14

Dumbarton Bridge, CA (#4)

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Golden Gate Bridge, CA (#2)

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Dumbarton Bridge, CA (#1)

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Golden Gate Bridge, CA (#3)

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Golden Gate Bridge, CA (#4)

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Golden Gate Bridge, CA (#8)

Donna_J_Wan_09

Golden Gate Bridge, CA (#7)

Donna_J_Wan_07

Golden Gate Bridge, CA (#5)

Donna_J_Wan_16

Golden Gate Bridge, CA (#11)

via Lost at E Minor

  • http://www.davemora.com/ Dave Mora

    Those places seem so peaceful. I wonder if that is why people still jump wanting to have that moment last for ever and not wanting to deal with all the pain they are going through :(

  • grggrrs176

    Half of these pictures are just closeups of water. Donna, you’re a hack. And you probably should have killed yourself.

  • Sarah

    Seriously, did you really just put that out there? Please can you take it back?

  • doug

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Real classy…..people like you make the Internet a dangerous place

  • mr feathers

    Don’t feed the troll!

  • Dr. Shekelstein

    Tell us more about the dangers of the internet grandpa.

  • grggrrs176

    I have no idea what I’m talking about? I don’t need to have an idea. All I need are two eyes. I can clearly see that half of these photos are simply cliché landscapes with no appeal. She’s a hack. Anyone who thinks she’s even remotely talented as a photographer has their head up their ass.

  • grggrrs176

    This has nothing to do with the internet. It has to do with the ambiguous nature of “art”. These photos are absolute garbage. Not sure where you get off accusing me of being a luddite. This has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with shitty artistic vision. Get a clue.

  • grggrrs176

    Not trolling. It’s called an opinion. If you’re too sensitive to criticism then get the fuck off the internet.

  • grggrrs176

    Okay, I’m sorry. I was being sarcastic when I told her to kill herself. I obviously don’t want that. But I refuse to deny the fact that her photography is absolute shit. Literally. This gallery looks like a teenager’s instagram photos. Are you seriously defending her artistic merit?

  • grggrrs176

    See “Golden Gate Bridge, CA (#5)”
    Are you fucking kidding me? If you think this is art, try buying a disposable camera, leaning over the guard rail at a bridge, and taking a picture of the water. POOF. You’re an artist!
    Disregard the underlying theme of suicide and these pictures are laughable. To think otherwise is to be consumed by sentimentality.

  • Boris Gump

    i wanted to see at least one body floating ,,,

  • Benjamin Ortiz

    I am completely unmoved by these photos. They are just mediocre. Maybe if there was a more direct correlation between the picture and the story behind it.

  • grggrrs176

    Thank you.

  • Max_Taffey

    Uh, I think Dr. Shekelstein was replying to doug.

  • Albin

    Actually the photos (evidenced by these comments) raise the interesting question of how much art photography depends on a verbal “backstory” or theory for anybody to pay any attention to it. Same is true of much painting, sculpture, art music, etc. I’m with the skeptic here to the extent that without the story line most viewers would not even stop to wonder why the photographer bothered. But that’s not quite where the art market is.

  • ??

    yeah, very exquisite and ideal

  • brendancalling

    these are all bridge jumpers. Where are the bathrooms, the basements, the closets, the garages filled with car exhaust fumes? Where are the low-budget hotel rooms? Where are the subway platforms?

  • Cal Beaney

    I didn’t think much of them but

    > if you think this is art

    wow

    good luck qualifying that statement

  • John Connor

    “This art isn’t heavy-handed enough for me!” Maybe she should have dropped her camera off the bridge to really get a sense of what suicide looks like.

    You’re a fucking philistine.

  • loubli

    to me at least this is more about the images as part of a series than individually… some of them are beautiful and others lack an obvious point of interest, so that’s true.
    but they don’t hardly make sense until considered together. the idea of the ‘last view’ is the significance.

  • loubli

    also what with Instagram and iPhones these days, anyone can take a beautiful photo of a sunset, flowers, etc. I think that in this day and age art, including photography, is less about creating something beautiful and more about saying something important in a creative way.
    same as with painting, the ability to reproduce nuanced reality on canvas used to be the main qualifier for a ‘good’ artist. now, so many more people can share that ability and post their work to the Internet, and it’s not so exclusive as it once was (not to mention the introduction of cameras).
    soooooo good art today is art that says something new/meaningful in a creative way. and I think this photographer has accomplished that.