Photographs of Roadkill Lying Serenely in Makeshift Memorials

Photographer Emma Kisiel‘s project At Rest is both beautiful and morbid. On one hand, they show animals lying serenely inside a ring of rocks and flowers, but on the other hand, each one is of an animal that was stuck and killed by a car. What’s startling is the variety of roadkill she manages to find: everything from a squirrel to an owl (when’s the last time you saw an owl as roadkill?).

Here’s Kisiel’s artist statement for the project:

At Rest is a photographic series depicting roadkill on American highways and addressing our human fear of confronting death and viewing the dead. My images draw attention to the fact that, while man has a vast impact on animal and natural life, dominant American religions insist that animals do not have a place in Heaven and are, therefore, of little value in our society. To cause the viewer to feel struck by this truth, I photograph memorials I have built surrounding roadkill at the location at which its life was taken. At Rest expresses the sacredness to the bodies of animals accidentally hit by vehicles while crossing the road.

You can check out the rest of the images over on her website (warning: many are more graphic than the ones we’ve shown here).

At Rest by Emma Kisiel (via Junkculture)

Image credits: Photographs by Emma Kisiel and used with permission

  • gerzo


  • Jonathan Maniago

    “while man has a vast impact on animal and natural life…”

    Intentional or not, that was more hilarious than it should have been.

  • James Bong

    Call me sick, but the shot of the Raccoon with the surprised expression made me laugh.

    These pictures are much easier to look at than the eviscerated roadkill I see every day on my drive to work.

  • Samuel

    The raccoon really made me laugh, probably a bit wrong

  • newamericanclassic

    fear of viewing the dead? lady, I see bloody roadkill all the time. I don’t feel ‘stuck by truth’, I just see some Wes Anderson-inspired hipster photos. I would have liked her photos just fine without that silly message.

    certain animals (pets) are held more favorable than others in ‘american society’, but I’d say disconnect from our food sources plays a VASTLY bigger role than monotheistic religions, of which half the country don’t, or barely, adhere to.

    I mean, if I raised a chick from birth, I’d appreciate it a hell of a lot more than if I just ate its delicious crispy drumsticks from a fast food place.

  • Michael Knight

    Those are the cleanest and best looking road kills I have EVER seen. Where does she get such nice looking road kill – all the ones i have ever come across are kinda smashed and bloody…

  • Rob

    I must be sick as well because I thought it looked like a Wile E. Coyote impression after he fell off a cliff

  • killermotion

    Dibs on the bird and squirrel. I was lookin for some lunch anyway.

  • La vie

    Fact: Jeffrey Dahmer used to do this as a child….
    ‘Nuff said.

  • Erin Barca

    It’s not an expression, however. Her face is smashed, and her insides have been squished out of a mangled jaw.

  • Jessi Hoy Peterson

    That raccoon looks like it did not go gentle into that good night…this strikes me as an interesting and humane project that honors what was once a living creature and at the same time reminds us we are not the only ones on the road – everything is going somewhere, we just go there in a bigger, faster, consequence laden way.

  • Erin Barca

    Actually, barn owls are one of the most common roadkills I see on drives through California’s Great Central Valley. They hunt along the verges of the road where the tall grass pleases their prey.

    If you live in California, there is a great project you can take part in. Sign up, observe and record roadkill. Do a search for the “California Roadkill Observation System” There are similar programs in both Idaho and Maine.

    Recording this data could help wildlife in the future with the construction of wildlife crossings, diversion fencing and perhaps keener consideration during the course of building new infrastructure. As it stands now, vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death for many species.

    Estimates for how many animals are killed by vehicles vary quite a bit. From 1 million every day, to two million every year. Either way, it’s too much. We can do better.