Cathrine Ertmann Confronts Death With Her Powerful Photo Essay From the Morgue

Muscular stiffening begins between four and twelve hours after death. It starts in the neck and makes movement of the limbs impossible. When it reaches the scalp, it can make the dead body’s hair rise. Like goose bumps on the living.

Muscular stiffening begins between four and twelve hours after death. It starts in the neck and makes movement of the limbs impossible. When it reaches the scalp, it can make the dead body’s hair rise. Like goose bumps on the living.

 His breast isn’t moving. The cells in his body have carried out the last of their work, the mechanisms have come to a halt and he is now not going to get any older.

His breast isn’t moving. The cells in his body have carried out the last of their work, the mechanisms have come to a halt and he is now not going to get any older.

In the chapel of the Pathological Institute of Aarhus University Hospital, the dead are received. Here they are dressed in clothes, their hair is combed and they are laid in the coffin, before we can say our last goodbye to those we have lost.

In the chapel of the Pathological Institute of Aarhus University Hospital, the dead are received. Here they are dressed in clothes, their hair is combed and they are laid in the coffin, before we can say our last goodbye to those we have lost.

Here are lying women and men, girls and boys on ice, because they were careless, because they were unlucky, or because their time was come. This woman was found dead in her home. She has just been through an autopsy, which confirmed that she didn’t die the victim of a crime. Soon her body will be dressed and laid in the coffin.

Here are lying women and men, girls and boys on ice, because they were careless, because they were unlucky, or because their time was come. This woman was found dead in her home. She has just been through an autopsy, which confirmed that she didn’t die the victim of a crime. Soon her body will be dressed and laid in the coffin.

These photos of the dead are purposefully anonymous. In “About Dying” Danish photographer Catherine Ertmann was aiming for the universality of death rather than the stories of these particular dead. And that’s what makes this series so moving. In photographing the dead so intimately, bare of everything, including their life stories, she has made room for the viewer in the morgue—as observer and as deceased. Who doesn’t project themselves into the sewn torso, the half-clenched hand, the freckled cheek? Will it be the zipped bag or the fiery crematorium in the end? How can we live fully if we can’t look at death?

“This project tries to break down the taboo by showing something we rarely have access to, and that death can be both hard to look an but also beautiful. Just like when a new life comes into the world when a woman is giving birth. It deals with the incomprehensible fact that life ends and hopefully remind the audience that our time here is precious and what things really matter while we are here.”

This project was approved by Aarhus Universitets Hospital (University Hospital of Aarhus, Denmark), where she and journalist Lise Hornung worked.

The only complete certainty in life is that one day we will die. It is the most certain thing in the world, and the biggest uncertainty we experience of the world, because nobody can say what will happen afterwards. Maybe that is why we find it so difficult to speak about death.

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Someone Released 1.5 Million Balloons Into The Sky And Ruined Everything

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If you’ve ever loosed a balloon into the sky, by accident or on purpose, you have probably had that uncanny feeling that you’ve done something simple but irreversible; no matter how high you jump, the balloon will forever be out of your grasp. Now multiply that sensation by 1.5 million; twenty-eight years ago, in a misguided attempt to break the record for most launched balloons in history, the United Way of Cleveland released one and a half million balloons into the sky for a fundraiser known as Balloonfest ’86. As the weather grew grim, the hasty event administrators freed the eager helium-filled balls of color into the sky, and it was all caught on film by the photographer Thom Sheridan.

The images are pretty remarkable; when shot at close range, the balloons look to be raining from above, coloring the skyline and bridges like jimmies over an ice cream sundae. Pink, red, blue, and yellow litter the frame like large-scale confetti. But viewed from further away, the balloons form something resembling an angry plague of locusts that ominously mushroom above the city. They puff up and away, and their colors blur, forming a bloody wound across the sky.

Given the historical context, these photographs are even more theatrical, grim and tragic. Two people died as a result of the event, and a horse was badly spooked and injured. The winds that day caused the balloons to flood together, forming a substantial cloud that obscured the view of aircrafts; helicopters were unable to rescue the victims of a boating accident. In one terrible anecdote, a coast guard member explained searching for the heads of the drowning people and being totally unable to differentiate them from balloons. The entire city remained littered for weeks.

This strange, tragic story reads like a bizarre little fable where excess, pride and even the most well-intentioned aspirations breed disaster and ruin. These photographs, these astounding relics of a city’s hopes and traumas, say it all.  (via Gizmodo and Viral Forest)

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