The Prospect of Immortality

Clearly, the freezer is more attractive than the grave, even if one has doubts about the future capabilities of science. With bad luck, the frozen people will simply remain dead, as they would have in the grave. But with good luck, the manifest destiny of science will be realized, and the resuscitees will drink the wine of centuries unborn. The likely prize is so enormous that even slender odds would be worth embracing. Robert C.W. Ettinger

In 1962, Robert Ettinger published The Prospect of Immortality, the book that gave birth to the idea of ‘cryonics’ – the process of freezing a human body after death in the hope that scientific advances might one day restore life.

Half a century later, between 2006 and 2015, Murray Ballard has undertaken an extensive photographic investigation of the practice Ettinger inspired. Ballard’s photographic book of the same name takes the viewer on a journey through the small but dedicated international cryonics community, from the English seaside retirement town of Peacehaven; through the high-tech laboratories of Arizona; to the rudimentary facilities of KrioRus, on the outskirts of Moscow. Worldwide there are approximately 200 patients stored permanently in liquid nitrogen, with a further two thousand people signed up for cryonics after death.

The book combines photographs of the technical processes involved, alongside portraits of the people engaged in the quest to overcome the ‘problem of death’. Whilst members have often been ridiculed for their views, Ballard has tried to take an objective stance, allowing the viewer to consider the ethics of the practice, and to decide whether members are caught up in a fantasy world of science fiction, or genuine scientific innovation.


“A mesmerizing story told through a combination of historical anecdotes, quotes from those involved, and clinically composed, occasionally creepy photographs.” Lesley A. Martin, The Photobook Review

“Ballard’s disciplined eye and persistence pay off, taking us behind the closed doors of this global community seeking immortality by freezing humans until we finally crack the enigma of never-ending life.” Rodrigo Orrantia, independent photography curator and photobook publisher

“Murray’s understanding of all things cryonic runs deep (the project was ten years in the making) and the book mixes images and an informative text so that you end up feeling you’ve learned something. My second favourite book of the year [2016].” Mark Power

All books ordered through this shop are signed copies.

Published by:
Publication date:
April 2016
216mm x 280mm (portrait)
80 colour photographs and 39 archive photographs
Hardback clothbound

Price: £35.00