Tuesday, 16 April 2013

"What a comfort it is to possess the image of those who are removed from our sight..."

People like to remember those who have died. Before the invention of photography, only the wealthy could afford a portrait. 
The Dead Bride 1804

When daguerreotypes and other early forms of photograph became popular, the dead were not left out.

Corpse bride posed with dead flowers.

Note how the gloves cover up her hands - the fingers would be discoloured due to post-mortem decay.

This girl has been held up by a jig and some clever wiring. This is probably a confirmation dress rather than a wedding dress. Look at her blackened fingers.

These memento mori can be eerily beautiful. Some modern photographers imitate them to create art like Eveline Felice here:

and Mikimatto here:

Of course,  many times the bride wasn't dead at the time of the photograph, but there can still be something unsettling to us about these images.

Cards like this would handed out at funerals.

This porcelain image is on a grave in Chicago.
Certainly they remind us that we too will die.

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