Photographing the Dead: "Post Mortem" (NSFW/Graphic)

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While searching for something to inspire, educate or intrigue our readers, I came across a photobook review that damn near stopped my heart. There's an obvious play on words in that statement, as you will soon see, but please do not access this body of work if you are sensitive to visceral images of the deceased (seriously please).

Photographer Patrik Budenz recently published his series titled "post mortem”, along with the thought provoking question, "What happens to our bodies when we need them no longer?" A question most of us refuse to dwell on, let alone photograph.

Patrik Budnez (post mortem):“a person's death ends her existence. still, the body remains." "until the 19th century, death was so prevalent in everyday life that it couldn't be denied: people nearly always died at home. it was the relatives' task to wash the body and cover it." "in the course of industrialization and the development of modern medicine, mortality rates dropped drastically. more and more, elderly people moved to hospitals and nursing homes, long before they died. the thought of death itself increasingly became unbearable for most people." "today, death has mostly vanished from public perception. most people die in institutions, and in case someone actually still dies at home, the corpse is immedately taken away by morticians in order to prepare the burial." "but what happens with a corpse between the moment it is given into the care of professionals and the burial?" "this series accompanies the dead body on its last journey from cold rooms, storages, pathology, taxidermy, scientific collections, morticians, crematories and cemeteries, revealing what is hidden to modern society.” For more in this series visit Patrik Budenz's site or order post mortem in hardcover to witness the series in it's entirety.

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15 Comments

That was hard to look at but had to be done....we all get there some day.

Too much CSI has taken the shudder out of these images. They are nice but TV series have blunted the beholder when it comes to graphic scenes.

i'm watching A LOT of tx series, like csi, ncis.....but it didn't took the shudder out of me!! there is a distinct difference between film and real life and i can see 100 people get slaughtered in film. and i shudder if i see one dead body in real life.........

Wow, the picture of the woman with her chest open is a REALLY good picture. Mortality is a fascinating subject.

Having direct access to this type of subject matter I have contemplated taking on this type of project. I am working on cleaning up some very old and beautiful embalming equipment along with some very odd accouterments associated with the Funeral industry. The shot of the cremains in the retort I find quite amazing. Likewise the assorted metal bits and bobs removed from the deceased.

There are some intense imagery here, but as a photographer you can't always photograph, pretty, sweet imagery. You also have to show reality no matter how graphic or dark.

whats going to be flying the blow flies you mean?

Well Done!

I know my soul lives in a rotting tent, that one day I will fly away from it never to return to it...it is merely a shell...
TGGentry

loved it.

I think it was tastefully done and a credit to Patrick. Death is something we will all have to deal with in some form or another. I would be happy for my grangchildren to see this publication. Once again extremely well presented for a subject that most would shy away from

Jason Vinson's picture

i agree! great images, thought provoking and tastefully done. .

The photographer succeeded in capturing a subject that is morbid and even terrifying, but able to bring in the humanity and sense of inevitability of our fate. Most of the time, photographers choose assignments for the sheer shock value and hope of instant celebrity. In this case, by looking at the photographs, Patrick Budenz lovingly portrayed the deceased with compassion and respect. The images struck a chord, not because these are dead bodies - but the photographer successfully expressed thru his technique that his subjects were once people, like you and I. I praise his efforts in shining light to what all of us humans will have to accept, sooner or later.

The death is your close friend

that last one is so crazy!
old joints, and hinges and plates, wooooah

The body is only a vessel and the person's spirit continues on after death. I wholeheartedly disagree with the quote "“a person’s death ends her existence. still, the body remains.”