Archive for the ‘Post mortem photography’ Category

Posing stands

There is a lot of misunderstanding going on about antique post mortem photos showing the deceased standing upright and the use of the posing stand.
The purpose of the posing stand was to keep the posers fixed and in position because of the time it took to take the photographs.
Here’s a good article about the whole process.
“The subject is placed in front of the camera. If necessary, the pose is held with the assistance of adjustable head rests, clamps and posing stands.”

Posing stand used on poser in a sketchPosing standPosing stand examplePosing stand with headclampPosing standVisible headclamp2 children posing with posing standsheadclamp example

There’s an increasing number of sellers on EBay who try to sell photos with standing people as post mortems. The discription mostly refers to the posing stand, slack jaws and droopy eyes. With all respect for the dead but have they ever tried to lift a limb body and make it stand upwards only with the help of a posing stand ? They are not like mannequins who you can bend and pose as you like !
One seller even refers to this website for his research on post mortem photography. That’s a good thing but not as a reference on standing post mortems like the ones they are selling and I don’t think the other references mentioned neither. As far as my knowledge goes there’s no written evidence that in the 19th and early 20th century it was a common practise to pose and photograph dead people standing upwards. On the post mortem albums there are 3 positive and without a doubt standing upright post mortems but all 3 under different circumstances.

Below some examples of so called standing post mortems offered for sale on EBay. Sadly there are still too much unknowing buyers who blindly believe on the “knowledge” of the sellers. Be warned !

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Post mortem photography

Definition of post mortem (postmortem): Done after death.

Post Mortem photography, as we call it, is taking pictures of someone who passed away.
In the early days of photography a photograph was expensive and only available for the more wealthy men and women and not for the common people.
Sadly, often these people had only the money for one photo and that was when drama hit the family.
When death had taken a loved one the family wanted a last remembrance to be made so they would have something to cherish and keeping it close to their heart.
That’s why most post mortem photo’s are taken with love and care.
Childhood mortality was even higher in the past and parents spend much time at home or the photographer’s studio to make their child look alive or just sleeping and having sweet dreams. Dressed in their finest clothes, laid out on a bed or couch with flowers and/or a toy.

For different reasons these pictures end up in antique shops, auctions, estate and garage sales.
Think about what was written above and read the reason why those pictures were taken and shouldn’t get lost, they need to be preserved.
You can register at where you can view more then 2500 post mortem photos.

Who thinks that’s all in the past and we don’t have that custom anymore, might be surprised that it’s still very common.
The only difference is that we all have a camera now and we don’t need a professional photographer anymore.
There are many memorial sites, especially for children and babies, the parents have chosen to share pictures of their ‘angels’ with us.

Visit our site and see the beauty in the photos from the past.

You can view enlargements of the next pictures on the galleries after your registration.

 Little girl laid out on a bed  Small boy laid out on his crib  Baby in a casket surrounded by flowers  Baby girl holding a small doll