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  1. #21
    BennehBoy's Avatar
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    Walter Schels - Life before Death "Noch Mal Leben"

    http://www.walterschels.com/h/noch_mal_leben_25_de.php

  2. #22
    iamzip's Avatar
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    It used to be quite common. I took photos of my wife's grandmother in her casket, at my mother in law's request, but have only viewed them maybe once. My wife and mother in law have never seen them. I also took a few pictures of family members not normally together.

    I did not take any pictures during my father in law's funeral, although I brought my camera in case I was asked. My MIL expressed afterwards that she wished I had and forgot to ask. I feel it would have been difficult, and I felt like a number of people were staring at me during my wife's grandmother's service.


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  3. #23
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamzip View Post
    It used to be quite common. I took photos of my wife's grandmother in her casket, at my mother in law's request, but have only viewed them maybe once. My wife and mother in law have never seen them. I also took a few pictures of family members not normally together.

    I did not take any pictures during my father in law's funeral, although I brought my camera in case I was asked. My MIL expressed afterwards that she wished I had and forgot to ask. I feel it would have been difficult, and I felt like a number of people were staring at me during my wife's grandmother's service.


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    Why did they ask you to take them if they've never reviewed them themselves?
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  4. #24
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    I think this practice is best left back in Victorian times where it belongs I find it very distasteful, my younger brother died about five years ago and I will never forget how terrible he looked on his deathbed, and would rather remember him when he was healthy.
    Ben

  5. #25
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    I think this practice is best left back in Victorian times where it belongs I find it very distasteful, my younger brother died about five years ago and I will never forget how terrible he looked on his deathbed, and would rather remember him when he was healthy.
    Images were costly "back in the day" and often people would wait to take pictures of their children once they had formed into adults, many death portraits of children were taken as a remembrance because the family never had an image of them in life.
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  6. #26

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    I think for every culture or era in which this is supposedly "common" I could find several in which it is not. Whatever floats your boat I guess. I find even wakes or "viewings" to be barbaric and even traumatizing, and I've been subject to countless dozens of them since my grandparents died when I was 3-4. Here's your Grammy little boy, and she's stiff and gray as a plank! OK, here's your scary old Grandpa now! And your little 8 year old cousin that you loved so much!

    I want to remember people as they were when they were alive. Last weekend I went to probably the "best" funeral I've ever been to, with a closed casket and a celebration of the person's life. I'm sure if I'd asked to open the box and take a picture his son would have clocked me. As I said to each his own, but you also have to keep in mind how offensive this is to some.

  7. #27
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    The psychology around this will vary from person to person. It's impossible to be 100% empathetic and imagine what other people would like to remember deceased loved ones by.
    Some will find it distasteful, and others will find it beautiful. Opinion in this matter are almost irrelevant, and will not really help those who appreciate having post mortem portraits of someone.

    I think it's remarkable that there are those who offer services to provide it, and as difficult as it may be, it can turn into something of tremendous value down the road. That's true for many photographs, and we may not think much of it at the time of taking the pictures, but we do, and with time many of them become valuable even though we may not have expected them to.

    I took pictures of all my living grandparents when I went to visit my home country in 2010. My maternal grandmother was still in her apartment with assisted living, clear as a bell, full of fun, and I got a magical moment with her. The next time I visited she had deteriorated very rapidly, living in an elder care facility, and while she was in good hands it wasn't the same anymore.
    Same thing with my paternal grandparents. Grandpa was strong as an ox still, chopping wood and running the household at age 85. Now he's got diabetes and bladder cancer, and is looking much weaker at age 88, and the strong man I remember isn't there anymore. I got a portrait of him too that shows him at his best, in his beloved back yard. Grandma has sclerosis and her back is so crooked that she can't sit upright anymore, so at age 83 I got a lovely portrait of her, and today it would be impossible, only three years later.
    At the time of taking the pictures, and showing them to other relatives, I didn't get much reaction. But today I get requests for reprints since one of them passed away and the other two are crippled with health issues.

    These examples show, very rapidly, how time alters the value of our photographs. It really bears thinking about, and taking into consideration, when we comment how distasteful something is, regarding something that can be of tremendous value to others. Time value of photographs is real, and may be the only thing somebody has to hold on to a beautiful memory.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post


    It really bears thinking about, and taking into consideration, when we comment how distasteful something is, regarding something that can be of tremendous value to others.
    Of course. I was only pointing out the reverse is also true and neither consideration trumps the other. As morbid and distasteful as I find it, I don't care if someone else wants to do it. And those who do it should realize that if you ask me if you can take a portrait of my deceased loved one (even if you have good intentions) you may be in for an unpleasant response.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    Of course. I was only pointing out the reverse is also true and neither consideration trumps the other. As morbid and distasteful as I find it, I don't care if someone else wants to do it. And those who do it should realize that if you ask me if you can take a portrait of my deceased loved one (even if you have good intentions) you may be in for an unpleasant response.
    And I think you made a very fair point that these things can be handled in a way that's VERY disturbing to some people, especially children. But it does evidently work both ways, and one person's "morbid" is another person's "beautiful", and vice versa. Probably the only thing that can be generally said is that no one size fits all, even within a given culture.

    It probably is worth remembering that in the Victorian era with which deathbed portraits are most associated, death was a much more real presence in most people's lives than it is in the modern developed world. In some ways that familiarity seems to have made it less of a locus for "morbid and distasteful" for the Victorians than it is for many of us. The subject still reads differently in the rural world too, I think, for much the same reason.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  10. #30
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    Of course. I was only pointing out the reverse is also true and neither consideration trumps the other. As morbid and distasteful as I find it, I don't care if someone else wants to do it. And those who do it should realize that if you ask me if you can take a portrait of my deceased loved one (even if you have good intentions) you may be in for an unpleasant response.
    You are absolutely right, of course. The only sensible way, I think, to handle it, would be to be as sensitive to these cultural and personal differences as possible.

    It would be wise to not be 'pushing' photography services like this, for the reason you mentioned, but letting it just be a 'pull' type of photography that those who need it seek. Just to remain respectful.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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