What age for your obit photo?

I don’t make a habit of trolling the newspaper obits, but every once in a while I’ll flip through them on my way to the weather. Occasionally my eye will be caught by a picture of someone quite young, and I’ll look to see how old they were. More often than not, it will be someone quite elderly, and the photo will be of them in their 20s.

That always strkes me as odd. I can imagine not having a photo of how you looked the day before you died, but it seems odd to have a photo that portrays you differently than just about anyone reading the obit will have ever seen you look.

So, let’s say you die at age 80, and you know an obit will be published with a photo. How old will you want to be in the photo?

I pick 65. Old enough to look “old”, but in better shape than towards the end. The way my friends will likely remember me.

(My mental image of my friends is typically a few years out of date.)

I selected 65-80 - after considering 50-65.

I’d like a photo when I was older, but still reasonably healthy/vital. So someone who knew me in my last decade would readily recognize that I was the guy in the photo.

I have noticed the same thing as the OP, and always thought it was ridiculous. Which is why I have told my wife that I want her to use one of my baby pictures in my obit. Might as well take it to it’s logical extreme!

I do not want an obit/funeral/etc. Just cremate me and get on with your lives. My gf knows that if she ignores my wishes I will arise and smite her.

Reasonably close to my age at death. The exception would be if I went through a long illness and didn’t honestly look anything like myself at my time of death. I’ve known people I haven’t seen for a year or two, after having been in a nursing home, who looked so little like themselves that a recent picture wouldn’t have caught my eye at all.

I don’t photograph well, so I’ll settle for whatever my next-of-kin can dig up that looks decent.

Pretty much kunilou’s response. I don’t like photographs, so the wife would probably dig up some school ID photo from a while ago. Call it mid-50s.

Whatever would be most recognizable to most people who know me. Which would probably be a fairly recent picture, unless I spent my last years wasting away in a nursing home where nobody visited me, or something.

I guess I should add - some of the folk w/ younger photos seem to have been ex actors or socialites. Maybe they identify themselves as vital young people.

I call this the “Death becomes them” scenario. When a very old, feeble celebrity dies, the newspapers suddenly revert to a photo of them in their prime. I first noticed it with Pope John Paul II. He was looking very, very frail, then after he died, suddenly he was looking mighty fine again!

Why assume that those reading the obit won’t have known the decedent* in his/her prime?

If you’re preparing to croak you should feel free to choose the photo you like. For realism a deathbed photo or death mask might be most apppropriate, but a trifle upsetting to readers even if they didn’t know you.

I don’t want an obit, but it might be fun to pick a photo of me at age six or so.

*to use a word in vogue on the old Perry Mason TV series.

I’m not going to die until there are live motion, Harry Potter style newspapers that carry moving pictures and sound. My will shall instruct my executor to imbed a “made for obit”, 20 hour mini-series based on my life. I figure that 15 minutes per year, on average, should be enough to convey the high level story. Details will be contained in the 80 volume, leather bound sets - entitled “Because you loved me as much as I loved me” - to be given out at the funeral.

OK, I voted for a recent pic.

I actually plan to come back and haunt everyone anyway, so there will be no need for a photo of any kind by which to remember me.

This has given me a great idea to have a photo specifically taken for use with my obit. Something in the “hands, up screaming in terror” or possibly the “wait, was he already dead when they took that?” vein.

I have a picture of a grizzled Jeff Bridges, from a few years back, that I plan to use as my obit picture.

What, no option for one from my 120th birthday? Sheesh.

The last pro picture I had taken was when I was a junior in high school. A typical school photog job. Anyway, a “no picture” obit would be my first choice anyway.

I voted 65-80, because that would mean I’ll live that long. :smiley:

But seriously, the picture should be the last decent picture taken of me before my death. Why pretend I died young? Plus it ain’t like I was ever good looking, so a younger picture wouldn’t help.

Presuming I have to have a photo at all. Or an obituary. It ain’t like anybody reading would care I was alive anyway, and anybody who did know I existed would already know I croaked without reading about it in the paper. So who needs one?

I don’t think I ever had an actual professional photo shoot. My wife I and travel a bit, and always rope in some stranger to take our picture. Anyone of those is ok I guess.

Since I plan on stroking out at 86, about a year after moving into an old folks’ home, I guess I should add “have picture taken” to my almost-final-move’s plans. Both of my grandmas were perfectly recognizable in their age-6x ID pictures (hair went darker*; more wrinkles for both) but seem to be their own daughters if you look at those from age 4x.

  • Blondes. Their hair went from gold to flak to ash to steel; my blonde uncle and bro are on the same path, as my blonde uncles and dad were. Me, I’m a brunette and have been getting white hairs for a few years; I expect to be very stylishly all-white by my mid-70s.