Someone said that death isn’t the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss in life what dies inside of us while we live. It seems that the Victorians took this quote seriously. The Victorian Era was an amalgam of weird customs, traditions, etiquettes and even the way they grieved for their departed dear ones.
Flowers in the funeral was a trivial affair, they took the ‘last goodbyes’ to the next level by posing cheerfully with the dead. Indeed, their idea of post-mortem photography was creepily fascinating.
The five siblings
Have a closer look at this picture of 5 siblings. The cute girl on the left is actually dead. But why would you believe it when you can clearly see the girl is blinking? Now, you probably would be thinking how is she even standing?
The teenage twins
Now look at this picture of twin brothers. Seems like a normal picture wherein one of the siblings caught an eye during the hectic photo session. But the chap on the right has not fallen asleep in the mid photo, in fact he has met his maker.
How did the Victorians pull it off?
So how does this grotesque art of posing dead bodies to make them look alive? Historians believe that the Victorians built special stands for the dead, so that the photography is done effortlessly. They also say that post-mortem photography was a widely accepted tradition during the Victorian Era. On the flip side, we do not find such customs in a modern day funeral.
A modern day example
Miriam ‘Mae-Mae’ Burbank from New Orleans was so full of life that her daughters decided that she should depart the world the same way. If you see her picture, you will find a flamboyant woman holding a glass of wine and cigarette and posing candidly for the camera. The only hair-raising fact here is that she is 100% dead and the photo is from her funeral. Miriam’s daughters wanted her funeral to reflect their mother’s life, so they created this still life.