Powerful ‘Last Photo’ Exhibition Shows People Can Be Suicidal And Still Smile

A series of portraits, each over six-foot tall, smile down at passers by on London’s South Bank, alongside the River Thames.

The images are part of a new exhibition, The Last Photo, created by the suicide prevention charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), to show the many faces of suicide.

Tragically, 125 people currently die by suicide every week in the UK, yet 61% of people say they would struggle to tell if someone they knew felt suicidal. The poignant outdoor gallery displays photos taken in the last days of 50 people’s lives.

One of the faces featured is that of Rob Bell, the late husband of author and journalist Poorna Bell. Rob died by suicide in 2015 at the age of 39.

The photograph, taken by Poorna, shows Rob waiting for a train after a James Taylor gig, a few months before he died. “He couldn’t stop smiling, humming Something In The Way She Moves,” Poorna recalls. Seeing her husband’s 6.5ft high portrait on the Southbank brought up “a big mix of emotions”.

Poorna Bell visiting the Southbank to see her husband Rob’s portrait.

“Seeing his photo underneath the summer sky was incredibly hard, when you consider the reason he’s there, and the 49 other people who feature in the exhibition. But it was also very beautiful, and poignant,” she tells HuffPost UK.

“Suicide is a death that can overshadow what we remember about a person’s life, and seeing his smiling face, and remembering the moment I took that photo brought a lot of good memories back, as well as the sad.”

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