Their art bridges the gap between the living and dead, but taxidermists don't consider their jobs morbid.
These necromancers exude a tender protectiveness over their glass-eyed mounts - an intimate relationship explored by photographer Mike McGregor in his haunting Preserve series.
McGregor snapped the portraits at businesses in the Northeastern U.S. states close to his home.
'The hands-on nature of their work captured me. A grizzly might require five hours of nailing and fittings and then another five hours of combing and back-combing, identical to the work my stylists perform before a shoot with a fashion model,' he said.
'A neat stack of two identical lion pelts can yield a lioness that causes childhood nightmares or one that embodies feline grace and dignity.'
Growing up around hunters, McGregor remembers the many mounts on the walls of his uncles’ living rooms and always having a freezer filled with generic white wrapped packages ID’d with illegible sharpie scratch.
Although McGregor veered toward the arts, his childhood fascination with sport hunting is reflected in his dark, but beautiful, images. Many photos.