The Nightmares of Frank Bender

My condolences to the family of forensic artist Frank Bender. Mr. Bender passed away in his hometown of Philadelphia on July 28 at the age of 70.

During his career, Bender worked with numerous law enforcement and families by creating clay head sculptures to help identify unclaimed bodies.  He also created time-forward sculptures--predicting what fugitives look like who have not been seen in years.

In February of last year, I wrote about Frank's last work--a 3-D sculpture of an eight-year old boy's head whose body had been found in North Carolina, but was never been identified.

Frank, battling cancer, agreed to do the work at no charge.

A film about his life is scheduled to be released next year: "The Recomposer of the Decomposed."

In reading more about the former Navy man and photographer, I saw this in the NY Times:

...Interviewers often asked Mr. Bender whether his life among the dead gave him nightmares. Yes, he replied, but not in the way you think. For years, he explained, his dreams had been peopled by the dead, and by sinister men.

The sinister men invariably attacked him, Mr. Bender said, and whenever they did, the unnamed dead rose up in his defense.

Wow.

Now that is a strong confirmation that your life work was valuable and truly an investment in helping victims and families who could never repay you.

9 comments:

Holly Lefevre said...

I got chills reading about his response to the dreams. This sort of work fascinates me...amazing.

MONICA-LnP said...

he is now an angel among all those he tried so hard to bring home

The Blonde Duck said...

How sad!

Nikole Hahn said...

What a fascinating calling, too.

Shannon said...

Thanks for sharing this. Interesting, indeed. =)

Dawn said...

That's incredible! He did that kind of work....and all because he wanted to?!! I guess this world has all kinds of people with all sorts of talents. When you put us all together we should be able to make this world run a bit smoother than we are.
My condolences to the family.

Bob G. said...

SLamdunk:
This was one remarkable individual.
And he looks so damn familiar (to me, anyway).

I must have come across him a few times back in Philly...maybe just in passing.

Great post.

Stay safe out there.

Shauna Nosler said...

I have always found this type of work facinating - especially as I can't even draw a stick figure without a big eraser near by. Really, I would ike to see the film. And btw, I jst read some of you older posts ... you really do a great job here!

JJ.in.Phila said...

Not only a "fascinating calling," but Mr. Bender was a pioneer in the field.

Sad that he's left us.