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Before their burial, the deceased would be photographed in their best clothes and 'posing' (propped up) with their living relatives. In some instances, eyes were painted onto the closed eyelids of the deceased to make them appear alive. In Victorian times when photographs were rare, this might be the only photo the family had of their dearly departed.
Standing post mortems are an urban legend. Stands were used to steady people for long exposure times used in photography at that time. It's impossible to prop up a dead person in this fashion! The stand couldn't hold up that much 'dead weight', the mouth would hang open, and the head and limbs would flop down. Could a person even hold up a dead child and have her look natural? No, and a stand can't do it either!
an example of the stands they would use to hold up the dead people while they took the photo