We may, with Susan Sontag, wryly observe photography’s tendency to make the ugly beautiful and the beautiful ugly, until sunsets and rainbows are trite while images of rust, decay and deformity hang on our walls.
But I don’t think that’s quite right. We marvel at the macabre not because it’s beautiful but because it tells us something about the nature of beauty, the nature of mortality. It is a foil for the ephemeral. It is not beautiful, it is meta-beautiful, a reminder of the fullness (“muchness” if you like) of things beyond pretty and cheerful Facebook moments.