My wife and I have taken photographs of deceased people both at funerals and in hospital settings. Neither of us see anything creepy or morbid about it. Death is a natural component of the life span, and is a life event that lends itself to documentation every bit as readily as any birth, school play, college graduation, fiftieth wedding anniversary, or any one of a myriad of other significant events. I took pictures of my mother the morning she passed in the hospital, and again the day before she was buried. My wife did the same thing with her mother when she passed. We also have photos of our pets after they have died. I understand that this was a common practice in Victorian times. Is there anything inherently unsettling or disturbing about this practice? Some people I’ve talked to simply can’t fathom it.
My best friend growing up had a picture of her dead brother, who died in infancy. I never understood it. When she died at 17, her parents took pictures of her in her casket (and possibly in the morgue, or whatever; I wasn’t there for that part). I really didn’t understand that because she died in a car accident and the make up didn’t do a good job of covering her facial wounds. I wish I’d never looked at her at all because 14 years later that’s still the first image that pops into my head when I think of her. I can’t imagine why anybody would want a picture of that.
Pictures of people who died in a less obviously traumatic way? Eh. I wouldn’t want a copy, but I suppose I can understand why people might take pictures.
I come from a culture where death is pretty much swept under the carpet - no open caskets here (British C of E), so I would certainly be squicked out by it.
I also would not want my lasting memory of someone to be when they are a corpse. With that in mind, I’m not sure I even want to see my parents or partner when they are dead. I might change my mind when it happens, but right now, no thanks.
There was this Filipina nurse married to a Swiss guy who like to have herself photographed with dead patients, inviting people on her FB/TW account to guess whether or not the patient was dead. Now that is sick. She was sanctioned.
No, I would never take pictures of dead folks. However, if that is what you are into… Why not? As long as you respect the dead folks loved ones wishes, you should have no problems.
I have seen enough dead bodies to last me three lifetimes.
I never go to a “viewing” of folks at their funeral. Like Silver Fire, I wish the image that I have of my dead friends to be of their smiling faces, not of their dead bodies.
No. My daughter died when she was four months old. I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture. It turned out my husband’s aunt took several at the viewing and gave them to us. I wish she had A) told us what the pictures contained and B) asked if we wanted them before giving them to us.
I don’t look at those pictures (though I did not throw them away, nor will I) I do look often at pictures of when she was alive.
My brother killed himself 5 years ago. I was very close to him, but felt very unattached to his dead body. Didn’t take picture, but also didn’t feel like that was him at all…which is different from how I felt about my daughter’s body, maybe the difference between being present for the actual death?
It does feel like it is bigger than my own feelings, like not taking photos is a culture taboo, not just my own preference.
No. Definitely morbid and creepy. Good thing you and your spouse found each other.
I thought this was going to be in reference to this article.
This used to be quite common back in the Victorian era.
I wouldn’t, but that’s only because I have the advantage of living in an era where cameras are a dime a dozen. If I lived back in the day, and the only oppertunity I had to get a photo of dear ol’ Dad was at his funeral, sure, I’d love a photo to remember him by.
Generally speaking, I don’t think it’s polite to take someone’s photo without their permission.
OTOH, while I wouldn’t want my corpse photographed, I wouldn’t mind a death mask be made*. And if my heirs wanted to play Mr. Potato Head with the death mask, I’m cool with that.
*in the brief interim before I’m cremated and my ashes placed in a fake can of peanut brittle that shoots springing snake puppets
I avoid attending funerals if possible, and if I have no real choice I just concentrate on getting through the experience.
No, I wouldn’t. I did take some photos of my dad in the week before he died and those are hard enough to look at.
Creepy in the extreme. Really. Seriously. No lie.
If you are posing them, yes, creepy. But taking pictures? I don’t think so. I do think taking the picture of dead pets is odd, though I couldn’t tell you why.
Been there, done that, will do so in the future. In our family its basically traditional. So that far-flung relatives have a chance to “visit you in the funeral home/attend the funeral” even if its long after the fact and a few thousand miles away.
If it were one of those situations where your buddy dies, and you and the rest of his friends sneak the body away for an all-night wake, and you sit him up in a chair at a table and put a drink in his hand, then you all pose for a group photo, that would be okay. Otherwise no.
My sister and I were in complete agreement that Mother’s casket would be closed at her funeral. No contest.
I mean really?? Is that the way you want to remember a loved one - pale and still and dead in a box?
I would have taken pictures of my son if I had not been afraid my husband would have been seriously offended by it. But I suspected he might be so I didn’t. I can’t explain why, because before that I would have said “that’s creepy” too.
I also wish I had pictures of my Dad and brother, but at the time, it didn’t cross my mind, plus I’m sure that again, others would have found it creepy or offensive.
It’s really strange, I was just telling a friend the other day I wish I had taken my phone out and taken some pictures and they said they started too but didn’t because they didn’t want to make us mad. If I could do it over though, I think I would have at least have ask my husband his opinion or at least if he could allow me a moment alone too even if he never wanted to look at the pictures.
I was about 8 years old, and my brother was about 5 and we were snooping through grandma’s dresser drawers in her bedroom.
There was a photo of our great-grandmother in her casket!
We were both freaked out and ran running from the room - and it pretty much ended us ever snooping through dresser drawers ever again!
I can see keeping photos of loved ones when they were alive and smiling and at a party or posing for the photo - but why on earth would you want a picture of their corpse?
I don’t, because I would rather look at pictures of them living and lively. But I understand why people do.