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Derrick Burbul

SPE Member since 2006
Member Chapter: Midwest

Memento Mori

With this series of photographs, I focus on reclaiming the value of two often-discarded items: roadkill and pallet wood.

Road kill is ubiquitous in our car culture. It is so prevalent, from the redwood forests to Gulf Stream waters, we pay little attention to the loss of those sentient beings. So I follow the ancient tradition of death portraits, which has been around since almost the beginning of photography, and much longer when we look to the history of painting. Since we do not have the emotional attachment with roadkill that we do with our departed family members, I rely on the aesthetic language portrait photographers have developed with Photoshop create images worth viewing. I pull from experiences working with portrait photographers and research the latest techniques and visual styles to apply to my subjects.

I am constantly trying to push my art to have a conceptual flow in all aspects of production. With this project of discard, I use reclaimed pallet wood to hand craft aesthetically pleasing frames. I search garbage piles for pallets with usable wood, disassemble them, and cut them down until I find usable pieces of wood. The wood often retains evidence of its past life, nail holes or other imperfections, but is quite often surprisingly beautiful.

In the end, this body of work challenges our ability to see all life as aesthetic, and the notion that we often see as garbage, can often be repurposed into something useful, and sometimes even beautiful.





Garder Snake

Gray Squirrel



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