The Ending project is my first major photo project, with its roots in panic anxiety and the fear of growing old. After surgery for possible pancreas cancer 2007, followed by a year's convalescence, I was faced with the inevitable question of what to do with the rest of my life. A second chance. An interest in art and photography has followed me since my teens, although that was not my choice in life. Until now.
Death becomes palpable when it approaches, and the pictures contain questions of fear and uncertainty, but simultaneously the joy of aging together with a life partner. The pictures have grown over a five-year period. Often a photo session with an original idea inspired new pictures created in the moment and the plan had to give way for intuition and guts feeling. Possibly a way to get close to who you and exploring your inner self.
Leif Sandberg (b. 1943) is an ordinary person, but a truly extraordinary photographer. Life took a real turn when he at the age of 64 learned that he might have pancreatic cancer. During the struggle that followed, he initiated a project where he, through the use of images, conveyed not only the emotional roller-coaster of dealing with the illness, but also the coming to terms with the harsh realisation that the ageing process had really taken its toll. “I have always enjoyed a general interest in art, which led me to enrol in art history courses when well into my fifties. When my life later pivoted as a result of my cancer, I suddenly felt the need to also create something myself.”From the start, the focus was not only on dealing with the fact that life was coming to an end – a thought stemming from the anxiety attacks brought on by years of career stress. The act of photographing also constituted a form of therapy, and the images also came to depict the true significance of his forty-year relationship with his partner. “It’s really about how you piece it all together: The anxiety attacks in the wake of the realisation that one is ageing rapidly, while at the same time seeing the light in a relationship. My images are more about the thoughts triggered by the disease than the disease itself. ”Leif Sandberg has participated in workshops with, among other notables, Anders Petersen, JH Engström, Roger Ballen and Antoine d’Agata. Over the course of these workshops, the material slowly emerged, and the series Ending eventually resulted in well-received exhibitions at the Landskrona Photo festival 2014 and at Galleri Ralf in Stockholm 2013/14. Ending is Leif Sandberg’s first monograph and he is currently working on a project that picks up where this book leaves off. “Ending does not present conclusive answers – everyone can delve in with their own history and experiences, and my hope is that the book can offer the viewer a sense of perspective regarding their own lives and ageing processes.