I find these pictures by Einar Sira so striking. I have spent long periods of time looking at them. They call to mind this Cig Harvey photograph, a favorite of mine. Sira’s series Post Vitam is divided into three parts, Animalibus (Animals), Ales (Birds), and Plantis (Plants); all of the images depict animals or plants, in part or in whole, on a mysterious plane that reads as wet glass or the surface of ice or water. This aspect, along with the subject matter, is disorienting and mystifying.
In the photographs, there are areas of deep black, surprising colors, and pleasant reflections or fragments of plants and the surrounding natural life. Although the pictures are of dead animals, there is a quality of movement, or reference to a cycle. Sira aims “to explore decay and the brutal beauty of life and death as represented through dead birds, animals and plants,” hoping “to be able to convey the inevitability that they, like everything, eventually fade away.”
More from the artist’s statement: “I already knew he was dead because there was a bird on the front porch this morning.” These were the words of my mother after being informed that her brother had passed away.
I was able to document the first dead bird I discovered for over 18 months. I photographed the same bird over and over again, at different times of day, in different light conditions and during different seasons of the year. Since the project was highly personal, I did not show the pictures publicly. To me, it was important to revisit a bird or animal repeatedly as time decayed its small body.
One day I found a dead bird in my garden. When I touched it, it still felt warm in my hands. At the time I was battling depression so subconsciously that I was drawn to images of death. I placed the bird in my small garden pond and began to photograph it. The resulting images affected me profoundly; speaking to me of mythology, of death and serving as a reminder that many birds were important storytellers in Norwegian mythology.
Through photography, I find a connection between the passing of time and my own humanity and vulnerability that resonates within me. Water, which many of my photographs involve, can be viewed as a metaphor for the river of time that runs over the underworld, but also for the beauty, truth and finality of life.
As part of FIX Photo by L A Noble Gallery (LANG), Sira’s work will be on view at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf in London May 13-22, 2016.
Visit artist's site: sira.no