Peaceful Still-Life Photographs Combine Kitchenware and Roadkill


Certainly there’s ample artistic precedent for including a dead animal or two in a still-life. Old Master paintings are rife with images of freshly killed ducks, bunnies and fish awaiting a trip to the dinner table.

Photographer (and certified taxidermist) Kimberly Witham slyly subverts that tradition with “Domestic Arrangements,” a series of still-life photographs that combine modern kitchenware and other items of domestic life with birds, squirrels and other animals retrieved from the roadside. All items come from within a short radius around Witham’s New Jersey home.
















Witham says in the statement accompanying the series that her aesthetic intent is to pay homage to traditional still-life painting while mimicking the look of photos in glossy design magazines. The combination makes sly reference to the ecological damage and other costs associated with the consumer lifestyle such magazines promote.

The photographs in this series question the consequences of our domestic comforts…The objects in these photos include personal possessions, flowers and vegetables from my garden, and birds and animals found by the roadside.  I arrange these items into ephemeral constructions that are simultaneously whimsical and grotesque.  While these images are inspired conceptually by the Vanitas tradition, formally they are more akin to contemporary home and style magazines.  In the pages of these magazines, products are arranged in clinical perfection.  They promise relaxation, fulfillment and simplicity if we only buy one more thing.  In contrast, my arrangements highlight both the promise of suburban comfort and the aftermath of our continued consumption.

You can find the entire series of photographs over on Witham’s website.

(via Wired)

Image credits: All images by Kimberly Witham, used by permission.

  • timothyholt01

    Sweet concept executed nicely.

  • dead rat

    Nice photos, just really poor taste, well in my opinion. But that is my 2ยข

  • Andre

    anyone else just think of “Dinner for Schmucks”?

  • Chiriac George

    Very inspirational ! Very interesting ! Congratulations!

  • Ivor Wilson


  • Esteban Erazo

    It’s a perfect balance between disturbing and gorgeously pleasing aesthetics.
    Great use of composition, lines and movement and color.

  • Burnin Biomass

    Yea, it took me awhile, but I like them. I can’t say that I understood the concept from the images alone. But the photos are well done, and the dead animals juxtapositioned against the household items give me a good sense of unease.

  • neatjunk

    No bueno.

  • hero

    *still-dead photos.

  • J. Unleash

    Beatiful and technically good images aren’t necessarily art.

  • Kris Tregnan

    Simply Brilliant!

  • Joshua Tobias George Barrett

    Brilliant, particularly number 3.

  • Pharside

    Looks like the work of a soon to be serial killer.

  • Bubba

    Them’s good eatin’.

  • IAR

    I guess, I will have the beef for dinner tonite.

  • MS

    I don’t quite understand how roadkill occurs because of the magazines or even consumerism. What am I missing?

  • malaviKat

    I believe the photographer is suggesting that the consumerist lifestyle promoted by design and style magazines creates an ecological burden that both directly and indirectly affects wildlife. Deaths are not directly attributable to auto injury (though for the sake of putting together the portfolio, that is perhaps the case), but to larger environmental impacts from deforestation, urban encroachment etc.

  • Lisa

    They are well done, but what a sick thing to do. Have some respect for those animals corpses. Kind of serial killer-ish…

  • Frank

    I think the work lacks empathy, from a purely visual standpoint, and veers too far into the “funny ha ha” end of the spectrum.

  • PeaT

    You’re trying too hard

  • Andrew

    I’d rather see life, than corpses. We’ve moved beyond the middle ages.