|My family took pictures of both my grandmother and father in their caskets. This is pleasing to me because my father looked better in his casket then he did the last few weeks of his life. He died of cancer. How is taking pictures of the dead looked upon in your profession, and is it done very often today in the USA.?|
|For a period of time, say about 25 years from the late 1960's to around 1990 or so, the custom sort of faded. My editorial opinion is that people thought it was not "cool" or that it was "unsophisticated". Well, there is nothing wrong with taking pictures of family and friends at a funeral and that includes the person who died. For a number of years we watched families sort of drift away from the gravesite. A very positive thing has been happening over the last 10 years. People seem to be coming to terms with expressing grief and loss in the ways that are comfortable for THEM, so we are seeing more people taking pictures by the casket. Heck, sometimes I'm the one who takes the entire group so the photographer (a family member, after all) is not left out. I think it is healthy.
I believe getting the pictures out every night for years and looking at them is probably over the edge, but for many families, funerals are one of the times they get together. It IS a social event. We ought to recognize that and celebrate that event just as we should celebrate the lives of the people we love. We live in the memories of the people we leave behind.
So, I don't know how others in my profession look at it, but I think it's fine. Quick note: I sometimes hear people say they want to remember their father or mother the way they were. My father died in an ICU in a hospital. The last time I saw him alive he was disoriented, unshaven, a shell of the powerful man I once knew. That haunted me all through the flight home and the ensuing day. When I returned for the funeral my aunt asked me if I had seen my dad and suggested I go down to the prep room. He was dressed, still on the table, except for his pants which we forgot, and he was at peace. I never again saw that image of him in that bed.
Oh, we did take a picture of him to show to our young sons who did not go back east for the funeral so they could see the sheaf of wheat in his hands from them. I KNOW he would not have liked that. Oh, well.
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Copyright©1998 by Donald C. Dimond II