Midweek Muse – Simen Johan

Simen Johan is an awe-inspiring hyperrealistic photographer who digitally constructs natural yet otherworldly images of animals in his series “Until the Kingdom Comes”. By combining photographs he’s taken across the world of zoo animals, roadkill, taxidermy dioramas, and various landscapes, Johan creates mysterious scenes where these creatures conflict with their contrasting environments or exhibit internal emotions akin to humans.

See more of Simen’s work at simenjohan.com.

Midweek Muse – Mia Jane-Harris

Mia Jane-Harris creates absolutely stunning close-up photographs of medical specimens of human cadavers in her series “Your Corpse is Beautiful.” I absolutely love her description and reason for creating this project:

“I wanted to show people items from medical museums/collections that I didn’t think were appreciated the way that they should be. These museums hold collections of thousands of human cadaver sections and specimens that are used for scientific research and study. They are looked at every day to learn from but in their dull and dirty containers surrounded by thousands of others they lose a huge part of their charm and people are so focused on what they are that they don’t notice how amazingly beautiful they are. So I wanted to take away the scientific surroundings, the educational environment, the dust and the grime and the information text books to leave behind just these absolutely striking objects. … People appreciated the beauty behind them. Those outside of the medical profession weren’t pushed away due to their normal mind set of ‘its part of a dead person so its disgusting’ and those in the medical profession finally saw the beauty that they had ignored that had been staring them in the face the whole time.

People were amazed to see that death could be such a beautiful thing…”

See more of Mia’s work at mia-janeharris.co.uk

Midweek Muse – Marian Drew

Marian Drew is an influential Australian photographer who creates still-life table settings of roadkill animals. Her earlier works in the series featured arrangements of multiple animals piled atop bountiful spreads of fruits, but her later compositions simplified the attention to focus on each creature individually. The images are beautifully moody in classic vanita-esque style and serve as a reminder of human’s influence on nature.

“It became a way for the community to acknowledge death and to give some sort of importance to a life rather than just having it get run over by a car, get squashed, and then disregarded.”

See more of Marian’s work at mariandrew.com.au

Midweek Muse – Haruko Maeda

Haruko Maeda is a Japanese artist based in Austria who creates detailed oil paintings depicting death’s constant presence in everyday life. Her works are reminiscent of both Japanese horror and Renaissance portraits and vanitas. Maeda also explores the relationship between what is ugly and macabre and what is considered beautiful by juxtaposing depictions of death and decay with flowers and lavish ornaments.

See more of Haruko’s work at harukomaeda.blogspot.com