The Prospect of Immortality

  • Patient storage
    Patient storage
    Alcor Life Extension Foundation. Phoenix, Arizona, USA. 2009
  • “Would you like to live forever and ever, here on earth? In the near future this may become a real possibility. The Prospect of Immortality is a sober, scientific, and logical argument founded on the undeniable fact: that a body deep-frozen stands a better chance of being revived than of one rotting in the ground; and that many people who died fifty or a hundred years ago of ‘incurable’ diseases would today be cured.” Robert Ettinger, The Prospect of Immortality

    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.

    Fifty years later, between 2006 and 2015, I have undertaken an extensive photographic investigation of the practice Ettinger inspired. The photographs take 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 project 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, I 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 book of this work will be published this Autumn.

  • Practice dummy, Cryonics UK standby team training
    Practice dummy, Cryonics UK standby team training
    Tim's house, Sheffield, UK. 2010
  • Frank, prospective patient and standby team member
    Frank, prospective patient and standby team member
    Cryonics UK meeting, Peacehaven, East Sussex, UK. 2007
  • Operating room
    Operating room
    Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. 2006
  • Meeting for new members
    Meeting for new members
    Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. 2006
  • Aaron Drake, Medical Response Director
    Aaron Drake, Medical Response Director
    Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Phoenix, USA. 2009
  • Patient Care-Bay (dewar being filled with liquid nitrogen)
    Patient Care-Bay (dewar being filled with liquid nitrogen)
    Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. 2006
  • Hugh Hixon, Facilities Engineer
    Hugh Hixon, Facilities Engineer
    Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. 2007
  • Transhumanist meeting
    Transhumanist meeting
    KrioRus, Moscow, Russia. 2010
  • Margaret, holding a photograph of her mother moments before her cryopreservation
    Margaret, holding a photograph of her mother moments before her cryopreservation
    KrioRus, Alabushevo, Moscow, Russia. 2010
  • Eugenij Kiselev (left), helps Kriorus technicians hoist his wife, Ludmila, body into the new cryostat
    Eugenij Kiselev (left), helps Kriorus technicians hoist his wife, Ludmila, body into the new cryostat
    KrioRus, Alabushevo, Moscow, Russia. 2010
  • Patient #4
    Patient #4
    KrioRus, Alabushevo, Moscow, Russia. 2010