Most people wouldn’t dare get close to an animal that they stumbled upon lying lifeless on the road. They shudder in disgust at the sight or worry that the creature may be carrying a disease or housing parasites.
That’s probably why most people never thought to honor dead animals the way Russian photographer Maria Ionova-Gribina did. In her project Natura Morta, Ionova-Gribina took something that is commonly morose and turned it into a beautiful work of art.
Natura Morta gives us a glimpse into the saddest aspect of life, of nature’s unavoidable life cycle: death and dying. When she comes across animals that died naturally or after collisions with vehicles, the talented artist brings her talent and kind heart together to give them a proper burial.
But these incredibly beautiful photos don’t make death appear so dark.
Instead of making the birds, bunnies, squirrels and hedgehogs look as if they have taken their final sleep, she somehow arranges them in such a way that they actually look like their souls have peacefully migrated from this life and on to another.
The flowers, composition and compassion within Ionova-Gribina’s images unite in the most surprising way.
Ionova-Gribina explains how this idea of honoring dead animals came to her:
When me and my brother found a dead mole, bird or bug we buried them on the border of a forest. And we decorated the grave with flowers and stones.
Check out the captivating images of how this photographer honors dead animals in the slideshow above.