If a picture really is worth a thousand words, then the 6,000 Polaroids taken over the last 18 years of Jamie Livingston’s life could fill novels.
Livingston began his photographic journey through life by taking just a single photograph. In no time at all, he found himself documenting each and every day with Polaroids. Over the years, his photos captured many personal experiences as well as a slew of off-the-wall moments that can’t exactly be put into words.
Across the many highs and lows, Livingston never missed an opportunity to immortalize important moments. Even in the last days of his life, the Polaroid camera was there to capture it all as he lost a long battle with cancer. Following Livingston’s death, two of his closest friends vowed to take over the Polaroid project. This is his story.
March 31, 1979: This is the photograph that started it all.
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May 27, 1979: In the early years of his photographs, Livingston was just a student at Bard College.
July 08, 1979: He always saw life through a bit of a different lens.
February 22,1990: As the years went on, he never lost his passion for film.
July 14, 1983: When he wasn’t taking photos or filming his latest low-budget movie, he could be found entertaining the masses as a circus performer.
March 31, 1980: Many of Livingston’s Polaroids paint a picture of his New York bohemian lifestyle.
November 6,1979: Living in the city that never sleeps made it easy to find characters to photograph.
April 14, 1980: He documented his worldly travels.
January 8, 1987: Livingston’s family made up a good portion of his photographic journey.
March 5, 1983: But perhaps Livingston’s largest inspiration was his close-knit friend group.
January 2, 1994: He loved to show off his friends’ talents and accomplishments.
April 19, 1994: Livingston and his friends were truly living life without regrets.
November 8, 1996: And even when things got tough, he knew there was always someone there to pick him up when he was down.
April 4, 1987: Livingston lived through many headlines.
October 21, 1987: And always took the time to celebrate every birthday.
November 9, 1994: He regularly looked back on the good ol’ days and admired his collection every chance he got.
January 2, 1996: No moment was too intimate for Livingston to capture on film.
May 2,1997: He didn’t give up his photography even after being diagnosed with cancer.
May 4, 1997: The camera was there to capture every treatment.
June 2, 1997: He pointed the camera on himself as his body fought through the horrible disease.
August 21, 1997: The focus of his photos made a quick change from living life to the fullest to simply surviving.
October 5, 1997: Unsure of how much time he had left, he proposed to his girlfriend.
October 7, 1997: Just two days later, the happy couple married.
October 20, 1998: A few days shy of his birthday, Livingston was rushed to the hospital as his health took a turn for the worse.
October 21, 1997: While there, he was surrounded by the people he loved.
October 25, 1997: Jamie Livingston lost his battle with cancer on his 41st birthday.
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You can view his entire life through Polaroids here.