Unspeaking Likeness is a series of images of forensic facial reconstruction sculptures. Occasionally, when investigators call for it, shortly after an unidentified corpse (or part thereof) is found, a forensic artists constructs an artificial face made of clay or plaster to better aid in victim identification.
“We are all too aware that when we die, the flesh goes. Memories of us may die more quickly or slowly, depending on how we were known and loved. But in both cases no one escapes decay. The transition between flesh and dust is, to those of us who witness any part of it, a nightmare. What is there beneath the skin that love or friendship would ever wish to see? And when the matter reveals itself to anyone but a surgeon, and moreover when it is rotting, it becomes an observer’s enemy. This is hardly putting the case too strongly. Our life-force naturally denies its own finitude and with all its horrified strength rejects evidence of futurity.” from the essay by William T. Vollmann