“Mors Scena” by Photographer Rachel Cox

Iowa City, Iowa-based photographer and educator Rachel Cox photographs American funerary aesthetics in her series, “Mors Scena.” From a young age, Cox has been fascinated by the traditions and embellished decor of funerals—many of which are vestiges of lavish Victorian customs. Drawing from her own experiences helping to arrange family members’ funerals, and several years of research on the history and evolution of western funerary culture, Cox stages photographs that “explore cultural attitudes surrounding death.”

“I am deeply moved by the orchestrated beauty of these environments—the absence,” she explains. “In this solitude, I am also making pictures designed for meditation and projection of one’s thoughts. The photographs are designed to be questioned. Why do we need, and expect, such elaborately staged environments to project our grief unto, and, what does this say about our relationship to death?”

See more from “Mors Scena” below!

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