Friday, January 02, 2009

Art: Still life.

Music fans who counted themselves members of the industro-goth phalanx of the early '90s indie scene may already be familiar with some of Jeffrey Silverthorne's photographic work and just not know it. The work of the American artist graced the liner notes of Nine Inch Nail's debut LP Pretty Hate Machine. Pictured below, it hard to imagine a photographer who looks less like the man Reznor would tap to decorate his first long player.

His kindly small-town mailman look aside, what may have caught Reznor's attention was Silverthorne's famous series documenting the flow of ex-humanity through a morgue. Stemming from a conversation he had with his once-teacher Diane Arbus, Silverthorne's photos are stark, creepy, and touching. The odd formality gives the images a rigidly mannered look, but the matter-of-fact titles and crisp resolution of detail gives them a loose documentary feel (note the shots in which one can make out the leg and foot of the photographer in the pic).

Here's some pics from the morgue series:

Young Boy Hit By Car

Woman Who Died in Her Sleep, 1972

Couple Killed by Carbon Monoxide Poisioning

All thanks to that postmodern wonder cabinet, Quigley's Cabinet, for reminding me about Mr. Silverthorne's work.


The Vicar of VHS said... these actually still qualify as "Still Life"?

Haunting stuff--and more than a little disturbing. Thanks, I guess...?

CRwM said...

Should we call them "life stilleds"?