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Memento Mori by Paul Koudounaris


Death is universal, but the human response to death varies widely. In Western society, death is usually medicalized + taboo + kept apart from the world of the living. While in much of the rest of the world, + for much of human history, death has commonly been far more integrated into peoples’ daily existence. Human remains are as much a reminder of life (memento vitae) as of death (memento mori). Through photos taken at more than 250 sites in thirty countries over a decade, Paul Koudounaris has captured death around the world. From Bolivia’s festival of the little pug-nosed ones, where skulls are festooned with flowers + given cigarettes to smoke, to Indonesian families who dress mummies + include them in their household routines. From naturally preserved Buddhist monks + memorials to genocide in Rwanda + Cambodia, to the dramatic climax of Europe’s great ossuaries, Memento Mori defies taboo to demonstrate how the dead continue to be present in the lives of people everywhere. Hardcover. 208 pages.

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