The son of a soldier, Scott Miller grew up on various US Army posts. After a few good years at Idaho State University, he earned a BA in History from Arizona State University in 1988. In 2006, he began formal studies in photography at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.
Long interested in transformations on the western landscape, Miller’s earlier photographic work included documenting wind farming, bridges, and housing developments on the rural/urban interface. Departing from these projects’ emphasis on formal structure and angularity, his studies of roadkill began in the summer of 2011 with a chance encounter between photographer and skunk. The skunk, it should be noted, was already dead, and yes, in the middle of the road.
Ours are motorized societies. Infinite fingers of pavement stretch and reach into any pocket of the continent. We’ve granted ourselves open access seemingly to anywhere. With this, and speed to spare in getting there, the ever-present possibilities of North American life includes swift and sudden death. This holds true not only for the drivers, riders, passengers and pedestrians of the road. On county blacktop and city strip alike, sooner or later some unfortunate other animal treads into the path of Our Big Hurry.
Few of us ever witness these meetings. What we see instead, if we choose to notice, is roadkill: the distorted form splayed on the roadside until scavengers or the cleanup crew carts the carcass away. It’s safe to say the average driver speeds by without the least tap of the brake. We half glance, dart a look in the rear view, and maybe mumbling a what was that? We sail past, impelled by our prior agendas and, for an instant, by our revulsion.
Yet the beauty of the living animal—beauty we might have slowed to admire—is not necessarily lost at the fatal moment. In their repose, something of it may also remain. It may be an innate beauty; it may be beauty newly bloomed in death. And to see it, we may have to step nearer and peer closely. This work explores that beauty.