Black & White - Beautiful Decay

Where beauty has no ebb, decay no flood,
But joy is wisdom, time an endless song.

William Butler Yeats

Keith Carter, Hummingbirds, 1989
(more Keith Carter)

This post contains photographs of dead people and/or animals which some viewers may find disturbing

Yamamoto Masao
(more Yamamoto Masao)

Francesca Woodmann

Andrea Modica, Fountain, Colorado, 2000

Sally Mann, Jessie and the Deer, 1985

Roger Ballen
(more Roger Ballen)

Anne Berry Captain

Dieter Appelt, 1959

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Untitled, circa 1960

Sally Mann, Body Farm series, 2000-2001

George Krause, “Saints and Martyrs” Series, 1963-Present

Walter Schels, Series of portraits of people before and on the day they died

Frederick Sommer, The Eatable Thief, 1950

Olivia Parker, Site I (from Lost Objects Portfolio)

Edward Steichen, Wilted Sunflower, ca. 1922

Rusla Safin, Till Death Do Us Apart

Vasco Ascolini

Vasco Ascolini

Christer Strömholm, Polaroid 11, 1977

Brassaï, Graffiti, La naissance du visage, ca. 1935-1950

Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand

Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand

Robert Frank, Painkiller

Joel-Peter Witkin

Arthur Tress, Ancient Singer, 1980

John Reekie, Cold Harbor, Virginia. Unburied dead on the battlefield of Gaines' Mill, 1865

Lee Miller, Dead SS Guard in the Canal, Dachau, Germany, 1945

Lee Miller, The suicided Burgermeister’s Daughter, Leipzig, Germany, 1945

Robert Wiles, The peaceful portrait of Evelyn McHale, who leapt to her
death from the Empire State Building on May 1st, 1947.

Fritz Fabert

Francesca Woodmann

Arthur Tress, Mummified Woman, Mexico City, 1964

Bettina Rheims, Orang-outang, Paris, 1985

Bruno Réquillart, Lions, 1977
Série: Gros plans Lieu de prise de vue. Museum d’Histoire Naturelle


  1. I can't help but notice in Jessie and the Deer that the child's smile is echoed by the cut on the deer's neck (it's like an upside down smile).

    I wonder what took place in the photographers' minds when these photographs were taken? It reminds me of a story my teacher told me about Claude Monet painting his wife on her death bed. This is apparently what he told his friend afterwards:

    "I caught myself watching her tragic forehead, almost mechanically observing the sequence of changing colours that death was imposing on her rigid face. Blue, yellow, grey and so on… my reflexes compelled me to take unconscious action in spite of myself."

    1. May be the gap between observing and experiencing is never deeper than when it comes to death and dying.

      To quote one of the most famous stories about the subject:

      There was no deceiving himself: something terrible, new, and more important than anything before in his life, was taking place within him of which he alone was aware.

      from: "The Death of Ivan Ilych" by Leo Tolstoy

  2. Stunning images, beautifully curated, thanks.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...