You probably have at least a photo (or two) that’s just too painful to look at. Whether it depict deceased loved one, a failed relationship, or be a symbol of a time long past, the sight is an unwelcome reminder of something (or someone) that’s gone. Since 2010, photographer Jason Lazarus has archived these images that are “too hard to keep” by their owners. He accepts the anonymous submissions and gives them a new life in the form of art exhibitions and books. Although their ownership has changed hands, their past isn’t forgotten.
These are a selection of photos that Lazarus has received over the years. With some of the images, you can immediately understand why they’re painful. One features dying cat laying on a cold metal table. Another is part of photobooth image of a couple that’s been torn into pieces. It’s also accompanied by a handwritten note.
With other photographs, it’s harder to understand why it was too hard to keep them. A seemingly-innocuous lush green landscape and a smiling snowman are another two submissions that Lazarus received. But, regardless of what they are, they meant something to someone at one time, and that’s the appeal of Lazarus’ project. It’s easy to relate to the feelings of loss, anger, and longing that these photos conjure to their original owners. These submissions are a reminder that we all hurt.