I seem to alway amuse my students with my interest in shooting dead things. I know.... ewwww!
I guess it started back in my Rockaway Beach days when i would stumble upon all manner of little creatures who had gone to meet their maker on my long walks along the beach and in the great empty lots that occupied the space between the elevated "A" train and the boardwalk.
My interest is not as morbid as you might at first think. I'm a bit of a pagan who likes to follow the cycles of things. Just as spring leads to summer and fall on to winter and then back again to spring, life leads to death which then again feeds life. I remember the first time i noticed how plants were growing up through the remains of a poor dead puppy that had been abandoned in an overgrown lot along my walk to the beach. Death feeding life, life feeding death, the never ending cycle. I decided this was a good personal project for me. After all, every boy needs a hobby. Certainly ever photographer needs a personal project, one that we do just for ourselves without worrying what clients or critics think. I wanted to explore these ideas through my photography and break through some of the taboos that our Western society in particular seems to place on this very natural process, one that like it or not, eventually will come to all of us. I also wanted to tie it in with my early childhood interest in archeology and paleontology. So my early series of these were called Future Fossils.
Death is transition. For those who know a little something about the symbolism of the Tarot cards, the Death card is the card of change, not disastrous endings. What that transition actually is has been a matter of philosophical and religious debate since the dawn of civilization and i don't believe my project is looking to answer that question. But i do want to approach the questions of mortality, our fears surrounding it and hopefully find a beauty and grace in the passing of things.
While this started as a more pure documentary project i have recently begun to be more proactive in some of my compositions. And so i am also developing the idea behind Last Rites and the idea that all beings deserve to be honored in their passing through some kind of rites or ritual. This sort of started with that last image of the hummingbird on the sunflower that you can see in the Future Fossils gallery. Depending upon the scene i might add to the composition to this end or rearrange the elements. The image i am attaching below is a straight shot though. I found this little guy yesterday at Twin Lakes in Eden Park while practices some DSLR video (i'm taking a class to improve my skill set). Nature provided it's own funeral flowers and the caterpillar in the water as food for the journey home.