These famous last meals were re-created by the photographer Henry Hargreaves.
Henry says: “When I first came across all the requests, I found it to be such a fascinating insight into the minds of these soon-to-be executed individuals.”
“As I read the requests, I began to imagine these prisoners as people and not just numbers. The story became much more real in my mind and I wanted to represent this visually.”
“Our culinary choices often say something about us that we sometimes cannot articulate easily. One of the trends with last meals was the amount of fried or comfort food.”
“To try to find a little comfort from these last bites is an interesting glimpse into their mind.”
“I’m not trying to push my political beliefs on the viewer. My main goal was to have the viewer identify with the prisoner through their meal request.”
“I wanted the viewer to think of them as a person for a moment instead of them being anonymous.”
“Nor am I trying to make a judgment about the crime.”
“The viewer can make up their own mind as to whether they agree with the punishment or not.”
Victor Feguer, who was hanged in 1963 for kidnapping and murder, asked for a single olive. He reportedly thought it might grow into an olive tree from inside his body and hoped it would make use of him as a symbol of peace.
Texas has reversed the tradition of allowing death row inmates their final meal choice.
Henry says: “As much as I think it’s a strange ritual, I think it’s worse to have reversed this age-old ritual. I’m sure there was more money spent in creating the legislation than will be saved.”
“I think it’s a subject that people can relate to and are curious about. We all eat and we will all die.”