March 29, 2011

19th Century Post-Mortem Infant Photos: A Thinkpiece By Mark Dery

Twin Infants in Coffins

Near's I can tell, Boing Boing guestblogger Mark Dery is writing his biography of of weird, little, Goth illustrator guru Edward Gorey, starts researching Gorey's interest in collecting once-common, long-forgotten, Victorian-era post-mortem photographs and daguerrotypes of children and babies, and found himself confronted with a vastly different cultural perception of parenting, death, memory, and mourning than the one we have here in our medicalized, technologized, memorialized present.

And so he wrote a whole chapter on it, and then had to cut it, but it was too finished and interesting to leave on his hard drive, so he stuck it on Boing Boing?

That, or the dude has some of the weirdest saved eBay searches of anyone outside the lifelike doll sculpture industry.

Ghost Babies [boingboing]
Related/previously/pot/kettle: 19th century funerary photographs, found after reading "Vessels," Daniel Raeburn's 2006 essay and historical meditation on the death of an infant following the stillbirth of his daughter Irene.

3 Comments

time to break out my old copy of "Wisconsin Death Trip"...

I wish this still wasn't happening but my mother still takes photos of dead people at thier funerals.

hi,

i´m a midwife in germany.
for almost 20 years we take pictures of the stillborn babies in our hospital.
though this is not very common in our society, to take pictures of dead peoples, we leave the fotos in the patients papers.
but after a while parents usually come and ask for the pictures.
we see this as a big step through the mourning work.
and people are very thankful, even when they didn´t see it in the first moments.
it´s a very important thing, having a picture, as well as a memory.

karin

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