Clothes for Death

Presented by Delmar Gallery as part of Head On(line) Photo Festival in May 2020, Clothes for Death is an ongoing portrait series by Polish photographer Anna Bedyńska.

Walk through the virtual exhibition, zoom in on the images and click on the videos to hear Bedyńska share her subjects’ stories, the project’s genesis and her reflections on the role of a documentary photographer today.

Bedyńska’s photographic practice engages with societal changes, documenting customs as they wane or new norms as they emerge.

During her travels through rural Poland as a press photographer, Bedyńska had the opportunity to meet elderly people who still observed the traditional practice of carefully selecting and setting aside clothes that they wished to be buried in. They invited her into their homes, laid out the clothes for her to photograph and explained the significance of the items they had chosen.

To her surprise, she discovered that these conversations about death were full of life, and was struck by how this vanishing custom had the effect of ‘taming’ death for those who practised it.

Image: Anna, from the series Clothes for Death by Anna Bedyńska