Photographs Of Life And Death

For as long as I’ve been making photographs with intention (since around 2005), I’ve photographed living things, and dying – or dead – things.

Mostly flowers and trees, in various states of decay and disintegration, with the occasional dead animal or bird in between.

Why?

Whilst I rarely capture (or try to capture) anything that moves (except our kids!), and favour a form of found still life photography, I am endlessly fascinated with nature and all its cycles.

And perhaps the dying, the decaying, the falling, and the fading, holds even more allure than the living.

My collective body of photographs certainly contains more dying matter than living.

I think partly this is to connect and reconnect time and time and time again with nature, the source of perhaps all calm and grounding and awe and wonder.

Partly it’s to escape from the man made – in all its industrial, mechanical, digital manifestations – and return to more organic and simpler times.

Partly it’s because there’s no beauty like that in nature, and it’s eminently accessible, right there beneath our feet and above our heads.

We don’t need to travel the seven natural wonders of the world to appreciate the intricate, joyous beauty of nature, it can be found in a decaying leaf, or an early morning spider’s webs, or a cloud formation against a majestic sky.

How about you? How does the cycle of life and death (and natural generally) have a place in your photography?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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6 thoughts on “Photographs Of Life And Death”

  1. Dan, I love watching the life cycle of nature and watching things develop and grow and age and die. I love elderly people and seeing the years of their life on their faces and bodies. I saw my father die and it was an honour. I often have picked flowers in my vases at home ageing and I like watching them fade away. I’ve never found anyone open about this before so thank you Dan

    1. Yes I’ve definitely been known to keep a bouquet of flowers long after the flowers are past their best, they just become more interesting as that process of decay sets in. Perhaps, as you say, like people. My wife and I were looking at pictures of us from maybe 10 years ago the other day. We’ve certainly both gained a few laughter lines!

      1. Dan, that is amazing to read about you and your wife 10 years ago. When did CCS first start. I remember you during your salsa dancing days and the beginning of CCS. How time flies

      2. Susan, I think CCS started in 2007, and looking at the wayback machine the oldest snapshot is from July 2007. I started salsa early that year too so it was a year of new beginnings! Which seems a lifetime ago now!

    1. Yes, Tony, I am similar! I often like to photography the life/death dichotomy of fresh growth/flowers on the gravestones of those long passed.

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