At Rest is a series by photographer Emma Kisiel that features roadkill found on American highways that are finally given a floral and natural memorial by the artist herself without ever moving or repositioning the animals. Depending on how one views the images, they can seem utterly disturbing or absolutely beautiful. (There are slightly more graphic images of animals that are further along the decaying process, which can heighten either feeling, on the photographer's website.) Ultimately, the intention behind the series is to depict “our human fear of confronting death and viewing the dead.”
Kisiel explains, “My images draw attention to the fact that, while man has a vast impact on animal and natural life, dominant American religions insist that animals do not have a place in Heaven and are, therefore, of little value in our society. To cause the viewer to feel struck by this truth, I photograph memorials I have built surrounding roadkill at the location at which its life was taken. At Rest expresses the sacredness to the bodies of animals accidentally hit by vehicles while crossing the road.
“By surrounding the subject with living and fake flowers and stone markers, I elevate the often ignored and overlooked dead animal to the level of a human being and impart the beautiful grace of their fallen bodies. My photographs convey the sublime, the grotesque, and the lure of the macabre; we can hardly bear the visual of death, yet we cannot tear our eyes away.”