Beautiful art made from ashes of euthanized shelter animals

For her Stardust and Ashes project, Shannon Johnstone wanted to memorialize local shelter animals "with nobody to mourn their passing," so she used their ashes to make cosmic cyanotypes.

Shannon says:

I hope these images serve as a memorial to these animals, who were nobody and nothing. Turned to dust and returned to the cosmos, they become everyone and everything. Just as we all will someday.

For the past decade I have been working with homeless pets and exploring ways to visualize the tragedy of animal overpopulation. Up until now, I have used traditional lens-based photography. For this new work, I was inspired by artists who use simplicity, pulchritude, and heartbreak as their tools. Artists such as Chris Jordan, Michal Rovner, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who draw you in with beauty, but then hit you in the gut with sadness.

Using my own breath and fingers to manipulate the ashes, I work the ashes into celestial configurations while the sun exposes the cyanotype turning the negative space to a Prussian blue. With these images I hope to mourn the passing of thousands of our forgotten companions, and remind us that we are all connected and headed for the same fate: reduced to dust and returned to the stars.

To help her local canine friends who need happy homes, check out her Instagram project Landfill Dogs, too:

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Please meet our two newest Landfill Dogs, Mr. Guinness and Chessa. They are not a bonded pair, but are being fostered together. Both came from a rough start on life, although you would never know it because they are both such loving and happy dogs. Mr. Guinness Pittyful (left) came into Wake County Animal Center after someone found him lying on the side of the highway with a badly broken pelvis. He received medical care and is now healed, although he now has a slight limp. But he can run and walk without a problem. Mr. Guinness never met a soul (canine or human) he doesn't like. He enjoys crowds, sitting at home, hanging out with other dogs, walking in the park—whatever, as long as he is part of the pack. He has a special power to love everyone, and everyone seems to love him. His only flaw is that he doesn't like to be left alone, and will need to be crated when left on his own. He is about 2 years old and is available for adoption through Merit Pit Bull Foundation. Chessa (right) is an 8-month old puppy who was left behind after someone moved out. Don't worry, she is now in good hands. Chessa is a happy dog who is as playful as can be. She absolutely LOVES to play ball. LOVES the ball!! She also adores squeaky toys. Treats are pretty good too. She and Mr. Guinness had a great time at Landfill Park. Chessa is available for adoption through the Wake County Animal Center. Please contact the foster with adoption inquiries at #dogsofinstagram #rescuedog #dog #dogoftheday #cute #adoptdontshop #instadog #rescuenation #lovedogs #mutt #dogs #rescue #pets #bark #adoption #rescuedogsofinstagram #dogrescue #foreverhome #nodogleftbehind #animalrescue #rescuedogs #fosterdog #fosteringsaveslives #animallovers #love #doglover #foreverfamily #rescuepup #adoptme #landfilldogs

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Stardust and Ashes (via Biscuit's Space)