The Grief & Grace Project is an ongoing series featuring stories of those who are surviving and thriving through major medical or mental trauma as well as those who are terminally ill. The purpose of the project is put a face to illness and disease and reveal humanity with empathy.
I began this project in 2009 after being invited to a suspension on the outskirts of suburban Houston, Texas. I grabbed my Mamiya 645 and a handful of expired film, not knowing what I was about to witness. The first suspension I witnessed was set in a small indoor location. There was medical staff on hand, several suspendees, their children, and various kegs to help weigh down those suspending. There was a quiet contemplation as each hook was placed and meditation before each person was hoisted into the air. It was unlike anything I had every seen and I was immediately drawn into this world.
Having a strong stomach and unable to shy away from the dangerous, the different, or even the outright offensive has helped me endear myself to this group and their lifestyle. I have a great respect for anyone who chooses to live authentically according to their own code. They have been open to me, giving me an exclusive look at what makes them surrender to suspension. In turn, I am careful to be respectful of their choice of the hook life.