Monday, 10 March 2014

Encountering Corpses (Part 2)

Paul Koudounaris is a self-confessed necrophile (figuratively, not literally), author and photographer from Los Angeles. His passion is an interest in the dead, especially charnel houses and ossuaries. Named after a sign in the Parisian catacombs, his first book The Empire of Death (2011) explores the history and context of these many and varied deathly resting places, from all over the world. A truly gothic tome if ever there was one.

His latest book, Heavenly Bodies (2013), explores further one particular subject - that of skeletons found in Roman Catacombs several centuries ago, presumed to have be martyrs. Their journey through nunneries, where they were dressed in ornate clothing and jewellery, ended with them residing in various churches across Europe and venerated for their assumed history. There's obviously a lot more to the story than just that, but I would encourage you to buy the book to find out. It contains a wealth of very interesting information and  gloriously coloured photographs. Paul has done a great job uncovering these hidden intrigues.

In this clip, you can hear the man himself talking about some of his experiences. Come along to the Heavenly Bodies exhibition at Sacred Trinity, running from Friday March 28th to Thursday April 10th, to see his photographic work exhibited for the first time outside of the USA (along with artistic responses by some members of SUB).

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