Death, Cremation and a Carbon Print...

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by holmburgers, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I read somewhere that it was customary in a certain time and a certain place, to have a carbon print portrait made from the ashes of the deceased individual.

    (if anyone has any resources, please share them)

    I'm curious what people think about this. I personally think it's brilliant, and can think of no more noble or respectful way for my earthly body to rest. To spend eternity as a photograph is a beautiful thing to a photographer.

    It certainly seems like a prickly issue, but what about you? Would you desire such a fate?

    Although I'm young, I'm serious about having such a condition included in my will.
     
  2. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Interesting. How many carbon prints could you make from one "urnfull"? Sounds like a good idea to me.
     
  3. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    A good question; and imagine the pressure on behalf of the printer.

    Fortunately, if a bad print was made, it could be redissolved and done over again.
     
  4. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    I think there is something in the Christopher James book regarding this rather macabre process. Not actually a carbon-transfer print, but a variant of the "dusting-on" process using the ashes. A bit creepy perhaps, but I like the idea - colour would be even better :smile:
     
  5. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I wonder. Ashes that I have seen were all whiteish-basically particles and pieces of bone. Maybe in the past less thorough cremation resulted in dark ashes.
     
  6. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    That's an interesting point. Maybe print a negative over a dark background to achieve a positive. Hmm, how does one go about testing such a thing..
     
  7. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Give it a try, urn your strips.
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I would be dead. How could I protest?

    I did do a photo piece with ashes once. A 16x20 print was cut up into one inch squares and mixed in with the ashes. Visitors to the gallery were invited to take a piece of the puzzle. It was one of three items on a shelf I had built. The first was a framed print. The second was a homemade lightbox with a backlit positive litho. The third was the bowl of ashes with the puzzle pieces.
     
  9. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    But you might eventually end up in a thrift store somewhere...

    The photos of the dead were often put on the graves stones -- they were usually carbon prints that used an ash-less gelatin, that was then fired onto ceramic tile for a very permanent image.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2010
  10. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    :wizard:
     
  11. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Sorta like reincarnated.
     
  12. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    Those left behind are probably going to be as thrilled by your request as they will by my request just to be left where ever I drop.
     
  13. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Is there a place where parts can be sent for a group shot?
     
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  15. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    I've seen a number of these, and they are very beautiful, but I really doubt they were made from cremation ashes. I suspect that they were made using glazes. There is a recipe in Wall and Jordan's _Photographic Facts and Formulas_. As I recall, it is a carbon process using a sticky syrup. The glaze sticks to the sticky and falls off the non sticky. I believe that a transfer would be used - unless there was a screen. The ones I've seen didn't seem to be screened.

    There's an artist in Seattle, Charlie Krafft, who will, if you specify it in your will (and pay, I'm sure), make art out of bone china which will be made from your bones. He has a website, and it's worth a look.

    I'm trying to decide what should be grown in my composted remains.
     
  16. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Or... wouldn't that be reincarbonated?
     
  17. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Sounds more like it.:D
    Or is that where you come back in a soft drink?
     
  18. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Bill Jay's ashes were made into a carbon print.
     
  19. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I have a friend who will make gum bichromate prints using ashes of human remains. I saw a print she did out of her grandfather. I don't know if it had any additional pigment mixed in or not, but it was quite dark.
     
  20. Jose A Martinez

    Jose A Martinez Member

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    Dark because the tone or the mood?
     
  21. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    I use 'bone black' as a pigment.. so why not!
     
  22. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    According to Wiki
    Cremated remains are mostly dry calcium phosphates with some minor minerals, such as salts of sodium and potassium. Sulfur and most carbon is driven off as oxidized gases during the process, although a relatively small amount of carbon as carbonate may remain.
    Is this suitable for carbon processes?
     
  23. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Both. But it was a very dark image, tonally. I'd have to ask her but thinking on it, I suspect there was a good bit of black pigment mixed in.
     
  24. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Fascinating replies, thanks everyone!
     
  25. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    A little more on the subject of burning bodies -

    It seems that cremation takes place at higher temperatures than those which are used for the production of "bone black" or "bone char" - the carbon is cooked off whereas lower temperature and less oxygen yields the dark pigments we know as bone, ivory, vine - black.
    I'm not sure if one can request lower temperature and oxygen deprived cremation :smile: (who knows.. possible business opportunity? UGH).
     
  26. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    What about DIY cremation? Oven cleaning cycle?

    I suppose I wouldn't be against mixing in some pigment with my ashes.