Death is a subject most of us prefer to avoid, but for Paul Koudounaris (below), the notion of eternal rest is what gets him out of bed in the morning. The Echo Park-based photographer and writer specializes in macabre art, including images of charnel houses and centuries-old tombs. His third book, Memento Mori (Thames & Hudson), comes out April 14 and features death rituals from exotic places, such as a 30-foot-deep ossuary made of skeletons in Peru (top) and the remains of an abbot in Austria (right). Compared with skull walls and bejeweled corpses, how do L.A.’s cemeteries hold up? “We have more celebrity burials,” Koudounaris says. “Not just humans—famous animals, too. Even one of the MGM lions.” So that’s how it all ends: not with a whimper but a roar.
Tales From the Crypt: “Studies show people live healthier lives if they’re confronted by visible reminders of mortality,” says Memento Mori photographer Paul Koudounaris. Get your fill at a photo exhibition celebrating his book’s release at La Luz de Jesus gallery on April 3.