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Gold 2020 People / Portrait

I'M Not My Body. A Story About Euthanasia.

  • Photographer
    Michel Petillo
  • Agency / Studio
    Michel Petillo Photography
  • Prize
    Gold in People / Portrait

In 2016, I met Claire C. a then 33-year-old wheelchair-bound woman, suffering from severe debilitating pains in her right foot, epilepsy and spastic quadriplegia. Since the age of seven, her life has been about life-threatening accidents, invasive operations, severe painkillers, and ultimately wanting to end her life. Claire has been seeking an effective pain treatment besides addictive morphine-based painkillers, since 2012. In 2017, a spinal neurostimulator implant was initially successful. In 2012 Claire renewed her request for active euthanasia since her pains have fully returned.

Michel is a Brussels-based freelance photographer (°1971). He started photography with the Berlin School of Photography in 2009. In 2014, Michel attended a documentary photography course at the LCC of the University of Arts and Magnum Photo.In addition to being a professional photographer, Michel holds a master’s in international law & human rights, and clinical psychology. His documentary work is inspired by current social, political, religious and environmental issues, producing images that fall midway between fine art photography and classic documentary work.