A Martyrology of MH370

“Almost six months have passed since the Malaysian Airlines MH370 disappeared. Although authorities concluded that the plane crashed in the remote Indian Ocean and lost all the passengers, many family members refuse to accept that conclusion. They hope that they are still alive. However, public interest towards this incident has faded, so I decided to record what these family members are still going through and shed light on this mysterious incident once again. I thought that portrait-style pictures showing family members together with the missing passengers’ mementos would tell a story. Before I started the project, I assumed I would find a couple of families at most, but the victims’ relatives really wanted to speak out about the incident and how much they are suffering now.

Finding the right object to show their grief was quite simple because they had already kept objects, or mementos, with them since the incident; objects which now have a special meaning for them. The relatives often had more than one memento and these included a wide variety of things, such as photos, dolls, pets, books, furniture, a whole house, and records of chat messages. Every item held a different meaning for each person. I was very careful not to hurt their feelings or invade their privacy when taking these pictures. My first priority was showing my respect for the family members, so before photographing them, I would wait to ask their permission to take pictures until I felt that they were ready and would always spend some time listening to them talk. Sometimes this brought tears to my eyes.

This incident was different from any other disaster story I’ve covered because we still don’t know what exactly happened to the missing plane and passengers. The family members desperately want to know what happened to their loved ones and where the missing plane is. I don’t think we should stop searching for the plane until we can find out what happened. That will be the only way to comfort the grieving family members and stop their crying”. – Kim Kyung-Hoon via Reuters.

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Cheng Liping, whose husband Ju was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, shows a picture of she and her husband together and an old card with a message given by her husband, at a park near her house where she and her husband used to visit during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 24, 2014. Cheng said her life has been totally changed since the incident. Their two little sons, who don’t know about this incident, keep asking her when their dad is coming back. Six months after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 mostly Chinese people on board, disappeared about an hour into a routine journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing March 8, loved ones of missing passengers derive what comfort they can from what’s left behind after the world’s greatest aviation mystery. More than two dozen countries have been involved in the air, sea and underwater search for the Boeing 777 but months of sorties failed to turn up any trace – even after narrowing the search area to the southern Indian Ocean – long after batteries on the black box voice and data recorders had gone flat. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Cheng Liping, whose husband Ju was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, shows an electronic razor which her missing husband used, at a park near her house where she and her husband used to visit, during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 24, 2014. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Cheng Liping, whose husband Ju was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 shows a family photo featuring her missing husband (top, R) at a park near her house where she and her husband used to visit, during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 24, 2014. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Dai Shuqin’ bag (L), which was a gift from her missing younger sister a long time ago, is hung on a wall for a photograph during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 22, 2014. Dai’s sister’s whole family was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014. Dai said she cannot go out without the bag these days because this bag makes her feel her sister is by her side when she carries the bag. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Feng Xuehong, whose son Wang Houbin was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 cries as she shows a picture of her son on her mobile phone during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 18, 2014. In the last conversation with her son before the incident, the son said, “Give me a hug, mom. Take care of yourself and I’ll come back to see you soon”. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Hu, whose son Zhao’s whole family was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 shows her missing granddaughter’s dolls during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 24, 2014. Hu said she had thought of committing suicide. She could not go back home for a while after the incident because she was afraid of entering the empty house which had been full of her 3 year-old granddaughter’s lovely smile. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Hu, whose son Zhao’s whole family was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 wipes her tears during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 24, 2014 as her granddaughter’s framed picture is seen in the living room of her house. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Li, whose son Wen Yongsheng was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, shows medicine for herself and her husband which they take every day during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 11, 2014. Li and her husband, who come from Shandong province, now stay in a small shabby hotel room in Beijing with hopes of finding more accurate information about the incident who took their 34-year-old son. They said the incident makes their health worse and they have to go to hospital every day. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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A tea cup of Li Zhijin, who was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 is covered with dust on his desk at his house in Beijing July 22, 2014. Li’s wife Liu said she argued with her husband in their last phone call before the incident. She could not have realised that this would be their last conversation and now that is her greatest regret. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Liu, whose husband Lu was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, shows a last message from her missing husband (bottom on screen), during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 18, 2014. They got married on March 1st, a week before the incident and could not go on a honeymoon due to her husband’s busy schedule which was also the reason he had boarded the vanished plane. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Liu, whose husband Lu was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, shows a room which they prepared for their future babies during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 18, 2014. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Liu, whose husband Lu was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, shows her husband’s picture on his laptop during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 18, 2014, shows her husband’s picture on his laptop as she sits on a bed they shared together at her home. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Liu, whose husband Li Zhijin was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, tries her husband’s ring on her finger as she shows it during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 22, 2014. Liu said she argued with her husband in their last phone call before the incident. She could not have realised that this would be their last conversation and now that is her greatest regret. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Liu Kun, whose younger brother Liu Qiang was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 shows a picture of his brother (top, R) on his mobile phone during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 18, 2014. Liu said he does not believe that the vanished plane crashed in the Indian Ocean losing all people on board. He wishes his brother and other people onboard the plane are still alive. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Zhang, whose husband Wang Houbin was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 shows her husband’s car key and key holder during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 18, 2014. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Zhang Xiaomi, a cat raised by Li Zhen and her husband, who was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, is seen while Li has an interview with Reuters in Beijing August 21, 2014. Li said her only wish now is that her husband comes home alive no matter how much he has changed. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Zhang Yongli, whose daughter Zhang Qi was onboard Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 looks at his daughter’s plush toys as he poses for a picture, during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 22, 2014. Zhang said this incident is disrupting the lives of he and his wife now. His wife sometimes roams several kilometers far from home because she cannot stand staying in their home from which her daughter is now absent. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Zhang Yongli, whose daughter Zhang Qi was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 shows a note featuring a poem which Zhang wrote for his daughter, during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 22, 2014. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Zhang Yongli, whose daughter Zhang Qi was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014 shows a badge which he received from an NGO group supporting the family members of missing passengers, during an interview with Reuters in Beijing July 22, 2014. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Zhiliang, whose fiancee who was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, shows an image on his mobile phone, which his fiancee chose for the reference to decorate their newly purchased house, during an interview with Reuters in Tianjin, August 26, 2014. Zhiliang said he will wait for his missing fiancee forever. They had planned to marry this year. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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Zhiliang, whose fiancee was onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, is silhouetted at an empty house which he had planned to decorate with her for their marriage, after he showed the house during an interview with Reuters in Tianjin, August 26, 2014. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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