Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Postmortem Photography Part IV

These remarkable pictures show the morbid way that the deceased were remembered in the late 19th century. The invention of the daguerreotype - the earliest photographic process - in 1839 brought portraiture to the masses. It was far cheaper and quicker than commissioning a painted portrait and it enabled the middle classes to have an affordable, cherished keepsake of their dead family members.
Known as post-mortem photography, some of the dearly departed were photographed in their coffin. This particular style, often accompanied by funeral attendees, was common in Europe but less so in the United States.

It was an age of high infant mortality rates - and children were often shown in repose on a couch or in a crib, while adults were more commonly posed in chairs.
Sometimes the subject's eyes were propped open or the pupils were painted onto the print to give the effect they were alive. In early images, a rosy tint was added to the cheeks of corpses. By the early 20th century, the practice fell out of fashion as photos became more commonplace with the arrival of the snapshot.

Photos and info via TheDailyMail

You can find Part I here, Part II here and Part III here
Postmortem Photography - the new era here
Postmortem Photography from Eastern Europe here

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