GRAPHIC Postmortem Photography and Memorializing the 19th Century

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ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
http://www.c-span.org/video/?312747-1/postmortem-photography-memorializing-19th-century

This is a C-SPAN video that looks at "the practice of 19th century post-mortem photography and the prevalence of this mourning practice." The lecturer presents images from a large collection of post-mortem photos, particularly of children taken by their loved ones, which was a common practice at the time. 

This will be of interest to those who want to examine the customs and practices of people who lived in the 19th century.

Some of the images may seem macabre. One thing to remember is that, photography was not as common then as it is today. Folks might only have a handful of pictures of themselves and family - this was still an age where most people lived in rural communities. So these post-mortem photos were the last chance to retain an image of a lost one.

- Alan
 

noman

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 18, 2011
Location
USA
Sometimes when a family gathered for a group photograph-a spouse maybe deceased-so a copy of the decesaed picture would be added !!
 
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MRB1863

Major
Forum Host
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Dec 6, 2014
Location
Lemoyne, PA (35 miles N. of Gettysburg)
As macabre as it may seem, these photos have a certain sensitivity to those who had commissioned them. The reason may have been to document the end of a career for a villianous outlaw, celebrity of the day, or celebrate the last glance upon the body of a lost child. Whatever the reason, some of the photos surely are representative of the true definition...

ma·ca·bre
məˈkäbrə,məˈkäb/
adjective
  1. disturbing and horrifying because of involvement with or depiction of death and injury.
    "a macabre series of murders"
    synonyms: gruesome, grisly, grim, gory, morbid, ghastly, unearthly, grotesque,hideous, horrific, shocking, dreadful, loathsome, repugnant, repulsive,sickening
    "a macabre ritual"
    black, weird, unhealthy;
    informalsick
    "a macabre joke"
...but sometimes were, in case of losing a loved one, a momento to be cherished forever by the holder. Other times the photo was purposed for profiteering at the expense of the departed.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Yes, it's amazing thinking frequently these were the single images a family had of a loved one. Looked at historically gosh, really tugs at you. More than that. We're kind of experiencing the worst moments a family had. I've accidently posted images of a family or small group of children only to look more closely later? One will have passed on- it will be a post-mortem photo, the poor family anxious to have that picture, everyone together. Gives us an idea what it was like for our ancestors.

Some of the ' clubs ' out there go too far, save these images solely because they are images of deceased people. Pinterest is a gathering place for them. You stumble on those pages, can't get out of there fast enough.
 
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