In the series No Seconds, photographer Henry Hargreaves recreates and records the last meals of Death Row inmates. He captures not only what they ate, but accompanies the photos with what was on the menu and the crimes they committed. Hargreaves is no stranger to the Beautiful/Decay blog, where he was last seen collaborating with food stylist Caitlin Levin. With this particular project, it’s all him, fueled by his towards incredulousness of the US Death Penalty as inspiration. “In New Zealand (where I’m from), and in fact nearly any where else in the developed world, the Death Penalty is just not even in the conversation.” Hargeaves states. “It is a remnant of an earlier era. This little bit of civility, ‘hey we are going to kill you but what would you like to eat?’ just jumped off the page.”
These last meals are recreated beautifully, and the photographer depicts each with its own style. Some, like the fried chicken dinner of John Wayne Gacey appears greasy and gluttonous. Others, like Victor Feguer’s single olive is a poignantly positioned on a gold-trimmed plate.
Food is a common thread amongst diverse groups of people, and the eating habits and choices made can tell you a lot about a person. In researching the project, Hargreaves tells Vice, “The thing that kind of struck me with these last meals was how many of them were these big, deep fried meals, which we like to call comfort food. Here were these people in their last moments and all they really want was a little bit of comfort.” This is one of the last messages someone on Death Row could send, and their choices make you contemplate the message they might be trying to send. What was Timothy McVeigh trying to say when he ordered two pints of ice cream? We’ll never know. (Via Huffington Post and Vice)