Post-mortem photography was once a very popular American practice in the mid to late 19th century, and it was considered a healthy practice by families grieving for their loved ones. Such photographs were labeled memento mori, remembrance photographs, or memorial photographs rather than simply post-mortem photos. Since the invention of the daguerreotype process, “portrait photographers offered postmortem photos as a special service” (Hilliker 247). Often, only the upper half of the corpse would be photographed, but it was also common for full-body pictures to be taken where the corpse would be shown as seated or sleeping, sometimes with family members posed alongside them (Hilliker 247-250). The photographs were commonly “mounted on walls in parlors and bedrooms,” and were also kept i...
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Haggard, Cheryl, and Sandy Puc "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep." Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep RSS. NILMDTS, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2013.
Hilliker, Laurel. "Letting Go While Holding On: Postmortem Photography as an Aid in the Grieving Process." Illness, Crisis & Loss 14.3 (2006): 245-69. Print.
Keilbach, Judith. "Photographs, Symbolic Images, and the Holocaust: On the (Im)Possibility of Depicting Historical Truth." History and Theory 48.2 (2009): 54-76. Wiley Online Library. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 4 May 2009. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
O'Neill, Mary. "Speaking to the Dead: Images of the Dead in Contemporary Art." Health (London) 15.3 (2011): 299-312. Sage Journals. Web. 13 Oct. 2013.
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