I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion. ~Jack Kerouac

by khristin ann Monday, March 28, 2005 at 12:49 AM

this creeps me out

"To be photographed was an occasion, an expensive one, the more so, if you were "gone to glory, or the other place."

As British gadlady Jessica Mitford liked to quote our undertakers in her The American Way of Death, and as Evelyn Waugh entitled one of his best satires, "the loved one" was embalmed, made up elaborately, clothed in whatever finery could be afforded, and, if at all possible, set out for public viewing. "A closed coffin funeral" was often remarked in scandalized whispers. Somewhere, in the process, often in the price of the funeral, the coffin was tipped upright, in full sunlight if possible, and a cumbersome camera was used to photograph the corpse. Until it became deemed in bad taste, perhaps in silver frames, draped in black crepe, several photos of the "loved one" might be kept for a year or more, on a side table and on the mantelpiece. "


This was done throughout the nineteenth century. I think that because of the creepy factor, people stopped doing it. I dont think I could look at a photograph of a deceased person lying in a coffin. Especially if it was someone I cared about.

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