This Man Took A Polaroid Every Day For 18 Years Until The Day He Died, And It’ll Break Your Heart

The life of Jamie Livingston is sadly over, but his incredibly intimate photography project will inspire you so  that he’ll never be forgotten.

The below project began on March 31, ’79, when the New Yorker took a single photograph. He the committed to take a picture every day for the next 18 years, a pattern he kept right until the day he passed away in 1997. Weapon of choice was a Polaroid SX-70. He continued about documenting every moment of his life, from friends, family and relationships.

The project turned a bit more emotional as he documented his fight with cancer in 1997. We see the scar from his brain surgery, we see his hair fall out, and we see the engagement ring that he gave to his girlfriend just weeks before he passed away on October 25th 1997. Jamie left behind a project comprised of over 6,000 pictures.

See below for some of key pictures from his entire collection. Be sure to check out the entire collection if you ever get the chance. Just keep a box of tissues handy.

More info: Jamie Livingston: Some photos of that day

June 15, 1979: Self-portrait of Jamie Livingston


March 31, 1979: First photo of the project.

May 27, 1979: Jamie as a student at Bard College

March 31, 1980: This one was taken on the subway in NYC

May 26, 1980: He also liked to take pictures of his friends

August 11, 1980:

June 13, 1981: Jamie was also a circus performer

December 6, 1980: There is no particular theme to his pictures. Abstract Art.

June 1, 1981: Some are more thoughtful

July 26, 1981: And some are downright random

March 7, 1982: Early VR?

April 11, 1982:

April 19, 1982:

July 18, 1982: He took a trip to Europe in the summer of 1982

July 22, 1982: This picture was taken in France

November 14, 1982:

January 1, 1983: New Year’s Day

January 21, 1983: This is Jamie at work.  He was a cinematographer and music video editor back in the early days of MTV

April 3, 1984: By this time Jamie would have had over 1,500 pictures

May 5, 1984:

August 3, 1984:

May 8, 1985: Mirrors are a common theme in his photographs

June 27, 1985:

September 3, 1985:

March 13, 1986:

April 29, 1986: Jamie was a Mets fan. Here’s him buying tickets with a friend

August 9, 1986:

September 23, 1986: Some of his photographs feel incredibly intimate

December 12, 1986:

December 27, 1986:

March 30, 1988: He lays all out his photographs. By now he has thousands of them

June 7, 1988:

January 30, 1989:

July 2, 1989: As well as his many other talents, Jamie was also an accordion player

July 7, 1990:

December 7, 1990: Goofing around while shopping for Christmas trees

December 8, 1990: Somebody having a bright idea

March 5, 1991:

April 9, 1991: Baseball tickets

March 13, 1994: Although Jamie appears in many pictures, he’s rarely seen smiling

March 28, 1994

November 8, 1995:

January 2, 1996: Sometimes it’s not clear who exactly is behind the camera

June 26, 1996: The Twin Towers

December 5, 1996:

February 7, 1997: Star Wars, re-released in cinemas for its 20th anniversary

February 13, 1997: Passed out in bed

 April 25, 1997:

May 2, 1997: Jamie’s health begins to deteriorate in May 1997. He is diagnosed with cancer

May 4, 1997: He has to have surgery, as seen by this scar on his head

May 8, 1997:

June 2, 1997: Self-portrait

June 24, 1997: Medication becomes a regular part of his life

July 19, 1997:

July 29, 1997: Jamie’s chemotherapy causes him to lose his hair

August 13, 1997:

August 20, 1997: Friends visit him in hospital

August 21, 1997:

September 11, 1997: His hair slowly starts to grow back

September 29, 1997: But Jamie is still seriously ill

October 5, 1997: He decides to propose to his girlfriend. You can see her in the background

October 7, 1997: Jamie and his wife on their wedding day

October 10, 1997:

October 20, 1997: Not long after his wedding, Jamie’s health gets worse

October 24, 1997: A friend plays music for him in the hospital

October 25, 1997: Jamie’s final picture. He died on his 41st birthday



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