The Necessity of Beauty

Rachel Cox

As photographer Rachel Cox ('06) helped with funeral arrangements for several family members, she noticed a common thread.

Many of the decisions involved the ways the lighting, furniture and flowers looked.

Cox, who is an assistant professor of photography at the University of Iowa, began to shoot a series on the necessity of beauty while processing grief. One of those photos of a bouquet encased in acrylic cubes was used to illustrate a Time magazine article, "How a Common Death Ritual Made It Harder to Mourn the Loss of My Mother," by Sallie Tisdale.

"In my experience, having a very beautiful, tangible object to focus your grief on provides welcomed comfort," Cox says.