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Post-Mortem Photography was an important part of dealing with the death of a loved one in the Victorian era. This article explains the fascinating truth behind the photos of the dead.
Another pinner said:This is the creepiest one and what is on her lips?? Yikes... 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!
ca. 1900, [Post-mortem portrait of a child with her dolls...so sweet...a little angel...what some people don't realize is that this child may have died without ever having her photograph taken...if her family had not taken one at the time of her death, they would never have an image of her. Also, some believed that the souls of those who passed away could live on in the photos.