10 08 2012

My father-in-law, a photographer, had to take many pictures of death masks. These pics remind me of the sphinx. A secret is revealed and concealed at the same time.

t'arthead

“One does not look at the dead, one lowers one’s eyes before them.”

In 1989 I purchased a copy of Granta 27: Death. Inside was a series of photographs by Rudolf Schäfer, taken from his book Der Ewige Schlaf: Visages de Morts. The photographs – they have to be photographs; only photography can do this – hit me hard, and they haunt me now. Are they portraits? No. They are still lifes, stilled life, each a silent, eloquent memento mori,  reminders that what makes us human is not our awareness that we are, but that we will cease to be.

In Schäfer’s own words:
“There is no direct experience of what death actually looks like…this notion that it must look terrible…”

“These are ordinary poses. We are constantly bombarded with…violent, extreme pictures – but we diffuse one of the implications of these images – our own mortality. With these…you…

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11 08 2012
Glennie Bee

Thanks for the reblog, David; appreciate it.

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