Pastel Deaths

there are a a number of things i really don’t enjoy seeing on Flickr (weird nudes, for example) – one of them is photos of dead animals. 99% of time it’s road kill or the carcass of a wild animal that the photographer happened upon in the woods. sometimes blood and maggots are involved, and then the photo is taken in an “arty” way and usually titled “silence” or “beauty” or something completely unnecessary. it really gets my goat.

but this series by Emir Ozsahin made me look twice.

This project is actually about what the deceased leave behind, how the ones left behind remember them or want to remember them more than those who pass away. With the naïve frames I will try to create, it’s about how my subconscious processes them, about the reality we know and how we try to forget what happens after death. By humanizing deceased animals and showing them as if they were sleeping, I tried to briefly touch death and create a series of photographs about pushing away the feeling of disappearing before it hits us hard in the face.

edit: i knew that there would be mixed reactions to this considering the subject matter… please don’t hesitate to give your opinion. also be sure to read Emir’s statement.

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22 Responses to Pastel Deaths

  1. Sam Wednesday 29 June, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Wow, these are really quite breathtaking. Often when you see animal death it is, as you mentioned, more graphically gory. You KNOW they are dead. This series is like documenting those last moments you have with a beloved pet, just after they have passed. While deeply heartbreaking, they seem so peaceful and, as often is the case, free of pain or any suffering they were experiencing.

  2. victoria Wednesday 29 June, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    i find it disturbing.

    • Bo Thursday 30 June, 2011 at 3:17 am #

      I totally agree. Extremely disturbing. It’s not like just coming across a peaceful/sleeping animal. It’s staged and costumed.

  3. Sage Parker Wednesday 29 June, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    so amazing!!!
    i’m really taken by these photographs, they have such a peace to them. i can’t help wonder why the animals have to have peoples clothing put on them. i think it would have been more powerful with out the clothing, because they are already put in human props. just the same i love them and thanks for sharing.

  4. gracia Wednesday 29 June, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    How very beautiful this collection of animal portraits are. A loving sendoff seems in the foreground of all.

  5. Caitlin Rose Wednesday 29 June, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    These are totally uncanny. I’m not sure if I’ve ever used that word before, but I think it’s appropriate here. and I know what you mean about irritating flickr images!

  6. andrea Wednesday 29 June, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    these are so touching (especially that little mouse in the teeny sweater!). these have so much more meaning than coming across roadkill and making it artsy. amazing how she can take a morbid subject and turn it into something profound and just… so touching. “touching” is the only word i can think of. all in all, these are amazing; thanks so much for sharing!

    though, when it comes to “roadkill” photos, this is my favorite. have you seen it?:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cargonistas/5274675562/in/faves-andreadespot/

  7. andrea Wednesday 29 June, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    *sorry, i meant to say “amazing how HE can take…”

  8. sheila Wednesday 29 June, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    freaky yet lovely

  9. Gabija Wednesday 29 June, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    I started crying when I saw these photos.. My dog has a heart failure..
    And it hurts so much to think of him dying.

  10. Roxanne Wednesday 29 June, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    Oh goodness.

    I thought these were precious-but-goofy because I didn’t read the description. I’m having a very knee-jerk, visceral “DISLIKE!” reaction – not necessarily a fair one, just a response-to-being-made-very-uncomfortable reaction.

    They remind me of that Victorian genre of “living dead” photography, where they would prop up the recently deceased family members – making them as lifelike as possible – along with the living and take a memorial family photograph. It was especially popular to do so with babies, who still had a pretty high mortality rate in those days.

    Meep.

  11. kate Thursday 30 June, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    i think this series is fascinating. the fact that these animals are dressed up in human clothes and postures seems to be symbolic of how we ‘humanize’ pets. we treat them like children, pretend they can understand us when we speak to them… this doesn’t see all that different.

  12. Anya adores Thursday 30 June, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    I love them – I find it far more soothing to look at them this way, rather than mashed up ‘roadkill’ on the road. Disturbing – YES. Beautiful – YES.
    A xx

  13. kristina - no penny for them Friday 1 July, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    i find these images disturbing too. not really because of the fact that these animals are dead, but because of the humanizing/dress-up aspect. that is something that freaks me out.

    i do respect emir’s motivation, but it’s totally not how i deal with or process death. i’ve lost both close and dear people, and some animals, in my lifetime, and i prefer to remember them alive.
    but everbody has a different way to deal with grief, i totally see that.

  14. tressie Sunday 3 July, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    anything, any act, that shows us humans acting kind…sad…thoughtful…reverent…towards creatures who have given us companionship…..When we are burnt by love….and hardly able to let go…yet use a tradition, and kind of clumsy ritual at death………makes me think….we won’t be doomed by those humans who can feel none of these emotions listed above….

  15. anette Sunday 3 July, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    Eu gostei, eles estão em paz. Não há terror ou medo, apenas um sentimento de que podem acordar e retornar ao nosso convívio. Quando minha gatinha morreu eu a enterrei enrolada em uma camiseta. De alguma forma eu queria mante-la aquecida e protegida.

  16. BC Tuesday 5 July, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    gosh–rest in peace all of you–what an unexpected and slightly disturbing layout. I’m not sure what to think at the moment, other than I really liked the guinee pig.

  17. Lady Moriarty Wednesday 6 July, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    I’m completely OK with this. I think death is a part of life and shouldn’t be all sadness and despair.

    I really like this idea.

    See U !

  18. sami Wednesday 6 July, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    this made me so sad because at first i thought it was some artsy way of capturing animals sleeping, but on second glance, it is such an artful way for such a sad ending. i love and hate the fact of it at the same time.

    xo
    sami

  19. Anna-Mart Monday 11 July, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    These photos got a couple of ooohs and aaaaahs out of me, until I thought about what the heading said… Pastel Deaths? Surely they can’t be… Oh. They are dead. Then I kind of got creeped out.

    I must be honest, I prefer seeing photos of living beings as I’d hate to think what it took to get those photos. But, I must admit, the photos are beautiful.

    *shivers*

  20. Jo Friday 15 July, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    I like the different reactions to this post. Myself I find them quite disturbing- I instantly think about the process it took to create these and it makes my stomach turn a little. I can’t help but think if this is okay to do this to animals would it be “art” if it were humans. A little deep but I guess that’s what art+death is supposed to do.

  21. A dreamer Friday 18 November, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    well, i’m crying. when i first saw the pictures, i really didn’t look at what you wrote, i just felt the pictures. now i can’t help but think of my dear bibi.
    everything is fine as long as it is with pure intention, they say.

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