These are death mask graves, created by Issac Nettles and photographed by Rural Southwest Alabama. From the RSA website:
These headstones were crafted by Isaac Nettles, Sr. (born 1885 and died 1957). Nettles made the “death masks” by having his subjects press their faces in a box of sand while still living. From this mold, he cast the masks using concrete and wire.
Perhaps the best known of the headstones is one that has three “death masks.” This headstone contains the faces of Nettles’ three daughters, Pauline, Marie and Clara, arranged asymmetrically on a narrow headstone. This headstone marks the burial site of Nettles’ wife, Korean, who died in 1933. Located a few graves away is another “death mask” headstone. It is a rough-hewn marker that contains a woman’s face that bears the words, Angel Ezella Nettles and “Sis Dollie” in raised letters. The third headstone contains a crumbling face of a man that is marked, Manul Burell, Died 1946. Under the face are marks that outline a shirt complete with buttons. Hand-inscribed across the chest are the words, “He Is At Rest.” There was a fourth “death mask” headstone that was located near the wife’s marker. It was the largest of Nettles’ headstones, a life sized, from-the-hips-up figure of his mother, Selena, who died in 1940. This headstone was blown over by Hurricane Fredrick in 1979 and all that remains today is the hollowed-out base of the headstone.
The Isaac Nettles “death mask” headstones were added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 24, 2000. The headstones have encountered substantial weather erosion through the years because of their age and type construction. The Clarke County Historical Society checked to determine if anything could be done prolong the life of the headstones. They were advised to let them continue aging naturally because any action taken would only degrade their historic value as folk art.
For more photos of these graves and other historic sites around Alabama, visit Rural Southwest Alabama's website and Flikr page.