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.”

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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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4 Responses to “Posing stands”

  • Mike Dunkle:

    Could these stands you see in photos been used for lighting purposes?
    These people just look too alive to me.

  • Boatswain:

    Hello Suzanne
    I can’t tell you if there’s another name, all I know is that they refer to posing stand or head clamp.



  • Suzanne Davenport:

    I would love to see one of these stands in person. It amazes me that they did this. I think they meant well. More pleasant when they look like they remember them. Do you know if there is a another name for these stands?

  • Suzanne Davenport:

    Hi. My member name is sdavenport1981. This is a very interesting blog. The ones that they are trying to sell, some are obvious and I think most of them are fakes. They eyes still have life in them. I think the one with the young man,the 7th one in those photos above, is dead and maybe #4. I have seen some on youtube that are obvious that they are dead. So I know that it was common back then but for the ones above, I believe most are fake. Someone trying to sell these should be ashamed. Something about posing them fasinates me. Thanks you so much for this blog. I have looked for picture of these posing posts for a while.