Memento Mori: The Art of Death and Mourning: Mourning Photography
“For Death must be somewhere in a society; if it is no longer (or less intensely) in religion, it must be elsewhere; perhaps in this image which produces Death while trying to preserve life.”
Funeral customs that might strike us as odd today were quite common a hundred years ago. The advent of photography allowed for the creation of keepsakes of lost loved ones. In the earliest days of photography, relatives had photographs taken of recently deceased family members. The departed were often posed with their living siblings or parents for one last family portrait. There existed an illusion that the deceased person was alive, either resting or sleeping. Gradually, as funeral festivities moved out of the home, the photography of funerals centered around the processions, caskets, and floral arrangements. These images are from Compton Family Photography Studio, which served Brigham City, Utah, from 1884 to 1994.