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Author Topic: Old photographs = dead children
lionswims
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Little_Duck:
After seeing the movie "The Others", my SO got very interested in memento mori and thus we now have several. Death Pics
I'm not fond of them myself. I find them too creepy. BTW, they're photos of the photos so the quality of some isn't as good as I would have liked with a scanner (no scanner hooked to this computer).

The picture of the child whose eyes are painted is very creepy. The eyes almost look real.
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Angel With Wax Wings
Deck the Malls


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People still take pictures of death today, I know that's true. Just look at sites like Rotten.Com. I know those pictures are nasty and horrific but there's something about death that mystifies us. Although I don't think I would be able to pose with a dead child or family member. That would just be too weird.

~Monica

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"Run for five minutes? Why don't you just shoot me now?"--Comic Book Guy (Simpsons)

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Sullen Moon
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Personally, while taking pictures of the deceased in coffins is weird, it doesn't bother me as much as proping them up in a chair or lying down on a couch. I think it's the idea of trying to pass off a dead person as being alive... *shiver*

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***sig line edited for content***

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BlueByrd
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by WonkoTheSane:
*DISTURBING IMAGE WARNING*This is a guy who will retouch pictures of your dead infant to remove the blotchiness and other traumas associated with stillbirth. Your new retouched photo is suitable for showing around to friends and family (and even more disturbing to look at than the originals, IMO).

I once saw a site where a couple knew they were having a stillbirth, so decided to deliver at home. They kept the infant's body overnight in their bed, and took full family pictures and so on, with all the family members (including the other children) holding the baby, etc. It was sad, and frankly distressing.

The whole thing makes me wonder about the extent people will go to grieve in their own way. Even to the extent of uploading photos of their dead babies with sayings like "Some souls are so special, heaven can't wait."

Wonko

I KNOW we had a whole thread about the stillborn-babies-fitted-with-Photoshopped-wings somewhere along either the Photo or the Glurge Gallery. Shall try and chow if I can find the time.

Ditto on the family pictures, I remember a mention of that one in a thread about a high-profile pCm, I think. Don't recall which one, though.

Blue "Bit fuzzy, been a long day" Byrd

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"A monster!"
"A local!"


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Loyhargil
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Hmm, I actually have two very close friends who lost their baby girls at birth because of birth defects. Both of them had photos taken of their children before they were interned.

One lost her daughter about 10 years ago. At the time, when she showed me the photos, I was pretty creeped out. She photographed her daughter alone, not being held or anything. I actually had nightmares about it. It was her form of grieving, naturally, but it was a bit overwhelming.

Years later, after I had my own miscarriage and later a healthy baby girl, another friend lost her child to a birth defect. She posed with her husband, her toddler daughter, and the child she just lost. For some reason, seeing the entire family together for the only time, seeing the grief through the gentle smiles on their faces, made the little girl seem more natural in the photo. When you understand that the baby is not alive, it's still pretty harsh, but for some reason seeing all of them having their only real moment together commemorated makes it more ... I don't want to say acceptable, but gives it more gravity and realism somehow.

For what it's worth.

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Joe Joe Joey Junior Shabadoo
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Jason Threadslayer:
People still take death photos, like this one.

What's so weird about it?

I think it's more the context than anything else; the picture of the pope isn't weird and doesn't send shivers b/c I know he's dead.

what can be weird about the Victorian death photos of children is the slow realization the child is dead. They look so peacful, and then it's like, "oh."

for me, it's the same feeling as walking into an old house or catherdal or something; I get a sense of history, and profound feeling that other people have lived and died here

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I'm so broke; I can't even pay attention

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Joe Joe Joey Junior Shabadoo
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, England:
Death pictures date back a long time. The Duke of Monmouth led an unsuccessful rebellion and was defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. (The last pitched battle on English soil, by the way.)

Monmouth was beheaded, but once dead they realised that they did not have a portrait of him. He may have been a bastard-born son of Charles II and a traitor, but even so a portrait was required.

Thus they paid a tailor to stitch his head back on, they dressed him and propped him in a chair. The resulting portrait can now be seen in the National Portrait Gallery in London. (You can't see the join, by the way.)

(Please, please, don't anyone say that this is an UL - if it is I'll cry.)

When I first heard this story, I vaugly wondered if it was UL; it sounded so surreal.

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I'm so broke; I can't even pay attention

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Here's one discussion of the Monmouth issue.

Unfortunately, the little bit about it in this discussion makes it clear there is no definitive information. [Frown]

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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ConsummateYat
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Is taking pictures at the funeral a regional thing? When my grandfather was buried, my dad's best friend (from rural Oklahoma) asked why no one had brought cameras.
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KBz
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Little_Duck:
After seeing the movie "The Others", my SO got very interested in memento mori and thus we now have several. Death Pics
I'm not fond of them myself. I find them too creepy. BTW, they're photos of the photos so the quality of some isn't as good as I would have liked with a scanner (no scanner hooked to this computer).

There's nothing to suggest that this child is, in fact, dead at the time this photograph was taken - only that she had died and was buried in the family plot. (I say this because the baby appears to have a double chin and gravity seems to be at play. Also, this chin looks soft and fleshy, and if dead, the flesh would be taught.)

Is it possible that photographers of the day just simply painted/drawn in eyes in instances where the subject had their eyes closed?

...and even if the eyes weren't closed, photographers often (still today) define the eyes for better effect.

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KBz
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by ConsummateYat:
Is taking pictures at the funeral a regional thing? When my grandfather was buried, my dad's best friend (from rural Oklahoma) asked why no one had brought cameras.

In preparation for my baby daughter's funeral 21yrs ago, my sister-in-law suggested we take a camera - I'd never heard that before! She said it was for us so we'd remember the day. The day was quite a blurr. And, although I later put the pics in my daughter's photo album, they never really interested me.
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Lizzy
I Saw Three Shipments


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Here is a site with a bunch of postmortem photos from the victorian era:

http://thanatos.net/galleries/categories.php?cat_id=1

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"Do you see me now? I'm like a fireball . . . with these shoulder pads I have the strength to destroy villages, homes and crops. GEM SWEATER!"

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vampyrviolia
Happy Holly Days


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there's that guy that uses corpses in his photos. What's his name? I always forget his name.

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Horse Chestnut
Happy Holly Days


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Off-topic, but these pictures reminded me of this story. About 10 years ago some young men were remodeling a victorian home in Columbus and found the skeletal remains of a baby, wrapped in newspapers and hidden up in the rafters in the attic. The newspapers were dated sometime in the early 1900s.

The Columbus Dispatch actually did an interview with the director of the Ohio Historical Society, asking him why he thought the infant body was hidden in the attic. He actually had the nerve to say - despite a museum full of black crepe armbands, memento moris funeral jewelry, mourning weeds, and yes, death photos of children - that the death of a child was considered shameful back in Victorian times, and that is why this body was hidden.

Of course, anyone with even a little knowledge of the late 1800-early 1900 knows that it was not Death that was considered shameful, but Birth - that is if the child was born out of wedlock. But apparently the museum director did not want to state in print that our good midwestern ancestors might have been capable of infanticide. (Especially since public records showed what family had owned the house at the time the body was placed in the attic).

Maybe taking pictures of dead children is creepy, but some people can come up with even creepier things to do to dead babies.

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happyholidaysfrog
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Horse Chestnut:
Off-topic, but these pictures reminded me of this story. About 10 years ago some young men were remodeling a victorian home in Columbus and found the skeletal remains of a baby, wrapped in newspapers and hidden up in the rafters in the attic. The newspapers were dated sometime in the early 1900s.

The Columbus Dispatch actually did an interview with the director of the Ohio Historical Society, asking him why he thought the infant body was hidden in the attic. He actually had the nerve to say - despite a museum full of black crepe armbands, memento moris funeral jewelry, mourning weeds, and yes, death photos of children - that the death of a child was considered shameful back in Victorian times, and that is why this body was hidden.

Of course, anyone with even a little knowledge of the late 1800-early 1900 knows that it was not Death that was considered shameful, but Birth - that is if the child was born out of wedlock. But apparently the museum director did not want to state in print that our good midwestern ancestors might have been capable of infanticide. (Especially since public records showed what family had owned the house at the time the body was placed in the attic).

Maybe taking pictures of dead children is creepy, but some people can come up with even creepier things to do to dead babies.

In the town I live in in central Indiana there was a similar discovery in little room that had been boarded off. Several comic books found in there dated from the 1950's. The skeletal remains of an infant and several comic books, along with some towels and a teacup and saucer with the remains of the tea. From the evidence they therorized that a teenage mother had given birth alone, then left the child.

Thats insanity that anyone would say that death was shameful in victorian times.

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~All we see or seem is but a dream within a dream~
E.A.Poe

Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.
~James Dean~

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LittleDuck
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by KBz:
quote:
Originally posted by Little_Duck:
After seeing the movie "The Others", my SO got very interested in memento mori and thus we now have several. Death Pics
I'm not fond of them myself. I find them too creepy. BTW, they're photos of the photos so the quality of some isn't as good as I would have liked with a scanner (no scanner hooked to this computer).

There's nothing to suggest that this child is, in fact, dead at the time this photograph was taken - only that she had died and was buried in the family plot. (I say this because the baby appears to have a double chin and gravity seems to be at play. Also, this chin looks soft and fleshy, and if dead, the flesh would be taught.)

Is it possible that photographers of the day just simply painted/drawn in eyes in instances where the subject had their eyes closed?

...and even if the eyes weren't closed, photographers often (still today) define the eyes for better effect.

You can clearly tell that the eyes are painted/drawn on when you tilt the pic a little. I can't prove the baby was dead when the pic was taken as I was never the original owner of the pic and all. It was purchased as a memento mori, though.

It is the one I hate the most too...

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"Silly customer, you cannot hurt a Twinkie." -Apu (The Simpsons)

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bethntim
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Casey:
I can understand the idea behind a death photo easily enough. It's the only photo many of these people would have had, but my problem comes in this.

When my grandfather died, my aunt was at the funeral, and kept taking pictures of the mourners, Grandpa in the box, the flowers, all of it. It just struck me as so tasteless (especially when she told me to smile- I don't think the Look of Death, and two upraised middle fingers, was what she wanted) to make me think that she should have asked.

Times change. Blessedly.

My aunt did the same thing when my great aunt died. She was getting EXTREME close-ups of my aunt and all the flowers and all the mourners. My mom asked why she was taking pics of her now and didn't bother to when she was alive. My mom was furious and left.

Now on the other hand if I had a child that was stillborn I would definitely take a pic, I probably wouldn't be holding the child I would make it tasteful and wrapped in swaddling simply because I would have no pictures of the child otherwise. I have plenty of pics of my children while they are alive and kicking I don't need postmortem ones. I can understand the Victorian Eras reasons for photographing but if you love somebody enough to take pics of them while they are dead, take pics of them while they are alive, don't wait until it is too late.

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Take only pictures, leave only footprints...

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TrishDaDish
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
there's that guy that uses corpses in his photos. What's his name? I always forget his name.
That's gonna drive me nuts. Because I remember us having a thread on him, with a link to his bizarre black and white pictures. I recall a short, naked woman with no arms (there were sticks or wires in place of arms) with her mouth open in a scream and a look of panic on her face, running from a goat. There was another one by the same guy of a dog and his guts were food, like a cornucopia. Friggin' bizarre crap.

quote:
I KNOW we had a whole thread about the stillborn-babies-fitted-with-Photoshopped-wings somewhere along either the Photo or the Glurge Gallery.
Ding dang, I remember that too - there was a woman in a hospital bed with family around, with this giant, psychotic smile on her face, and she's holding a baby smaller than the palm of her hand in her hand. I can't remember where we discussed that, either.

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I would prefer not to.
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thadeus
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Joel Peter Witkin.

Does the pictures of corpses and hermaphrodites and stuff.

He's awesome.

quote:
there's that guy that uses corpses in his photos. What's his name? I always forget his name.


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senshisteph
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Japan's camera phone craze spreads to funerals
Thu Feb 16, 5:39 AM ET
Associated Press

Japan's obsession with camera-equipped mobile phones has taken a bizarre twist, with mourners at funerals now using the devices to capture a final picture of the deceased.

"I get the sense that people no longer respect the dead. It's disturbing," a funeral director told the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.

At one ceremony several people gathered round the coffin and took out their phones to photograph the corpse as preparations were made to begin a cremation, she was quoted as saying.

"I'm sure the deceased would never want their faces photographed," she said.

But others called it a form of a memento in the modern age.

"Some can't grasp 'reality' unless they take a photo and share it with others ... It comes from a desire to keep a strong bond with the deceased," social commentator Toru Takeda told the paper.

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七転び八起き
nana korobi ya oki
'fall down seven times, get up eight.'

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Seanette
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quote:
Originally posted by Horse Chestnut:
Off-topic, but these pictures reminded me of this story. About 10 years ago some young men were remodeling a victorian home in Columbus and found the skeletal remains of a baby, wrapped in newspapers and hidden up in the rafters in the attic. The newspapers were dated sometime in the early 1900s.
[snip]
Maybe taking pictures of dead children is creepy, but some people can come up with even creepier things to do to dead babies.

Speaking of creepy, this reminds me of a story I've read (non-fiction). An elderly spinster died in the mid-70s. She had no relatives, so an acquaintance volunteered to put her affairs in order. During the course of this, a trunk was found in the attic. It contained the remains of five babies, each wrapped in newspaper (the newspapers were dated between 1923 and 1933). The best guess anyone came up with was that these were the spinster's out-of-wedlock children, and that she had killed them, then for some reason kept the remains (nothing was found that shed any light on any of this, other than the trunk and contents).
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Squishy0405
Wii Wiish You A Merry Chriistmas


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Do you think this is one of the photos? The question listed is mine [Smile]

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6253926735&sspagename=ADME%3AB%3AAAQ%3AUS%3A1&rd=1#ebayphotohosting

OK the URL within a word thing isnt working for me [fish]

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"Fate is like a strange, unpopular resturant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never ask for and don't always like."-Lemony Snicket

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SchmooPie
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Squishy0405:
Do you think this is one of the photos? The question listed is mine [Smile]

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6253926735&sspagename=ADME%3AB%3AAAQ%3AUS%3A1&rd=1#ebayphotohosting

OK the URL within a word thing isnt working for me [fish]

Considering that in 1897 it was normal for an exposure to take 1/30 second or more I would be surprised if the baby were alive. And, as mentioned in an earlier post, there were people that painted in the eyes to look open.

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"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you."
- C. G. Jung

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Alluvian
I Saw Three Shipments


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Didn't have time to read the thread, but creepy eyes in old photographs is common due to the long exposure times.

You try to not only not blink, but not move your eyes for a minute or more. Any blinking or movement of the eye (including subconscious dilation) will make it look un natural.

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courier1009
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Pictures don't freak me out, it's the wreaths made of dead peoples hair that freak me out.
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Lindiglo
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Alluvian:
Didn't have time to read the thread, but creepy eyes in old photographs is common due to the long exposure times.

You try to not only not blink, but not move your eyes for a minute or more. Any blinking or movement of the eye (including subconscious dilation) will make it look un natural.

Definitely, not a fun time, as anybody who has had their portrait taken by pinhole camera can attest. You're in bright lights for a very long time, and you can't move at all. it's incredibly uncomfortable and blinking will occur, it's damn near impossible to go that long without blinking.
-L

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A woman's dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.
-Sophia Loren

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Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Originally posted by Seanette:
quote:
Originally posted by Horse Chestnut:
Off-topic, but these pictures reminded me of this story. About 10 years ago some young men were remodeling a victorian home in Columbus and found the skeletal remains of a baby, wrapped in newspapers and hidden up in the rafters in the attic. The newspapers were dated sometime in the early 1900s.
[snip]
Maybe taking pictures of dead children is creepy, but some people can come up with even creepier things to do to dead babies.

Speaking of creepy, this reminds me of a story I've read (non-fiction). An elderly spinster died in the mid-70s. She had no relatives, so an acquaintance volunteered to put her affairs in order. During the course of this, a trunk was found in the attic. It contained the remains of five babies, each wrapped in newspaper (the newspapers were dated between 1923 and 1933). The best guess anyone came up with was that these were the spinster's out-of-wedlock children, and that she had killed them, then for some reason kept the remains (nothing was found that shed any light on any of this, other than the trunk and contents).
A similar case (or possibly the same one) was mentioned on a Discovery Channel special on the Mutter Museum. The woman's babies all died at very young ages (they may have been quads or quints, not sure) and she kept the bodies. They are in the private collection, not on public display. I'll try to find a link with more on the story.

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Mizz Cloud
Baby 100 Grand


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I'm not sure why dead folks would care if there pictures are being taken...

Funerals are for the living, try having an honest death discussion, with those you love...

the 'death' talk

I find the hair wreaths quite lovely, I have seen many up close rather meticulous and created with love. I have also seen hair jewelery as well.

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"Trust me I am cognizant of what I am doing"

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Lady Mariassa
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A lot of the photos of deceased children were called Angel Photos (IIRC) apparently it was quite a common practice in the late 1800's early 1900's. Often it was the only photograph a family had of a child.

Most of them that I have seen have a person holding the child like they were asleep in their arms.

I have heard of hospitals now doing the same thing for parents of children that have not survived birth.

Oh and BTW my family has a photo of my aunt in just about the same pose (proped up in a corner of a chair) She was born in 1913 and still living, so not all baby photos from that era are dead baby pics.


Mariassa

Posts: 4 | From: New Bremen, Ohio | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Laser Potato
I Saw Three Shipments


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I understand they did the same thing with kittens. Drowned 'em, stuffed 'em, mounted 'em, posed 'em in various "cute" ways, and photographed 'em. Postcards of these poor little guys were very popular, in fact. Often with baby clothes.

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I want a lawyer! I want a doctor! I want a cheese sandwich!

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lynnejanet
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by courier1009:
Pictures don't freak me out, it's the wreaths made of dead peoples hair that freak me out.

The plaster in our old Victorian house is full of what appears to be short pieces if human hair. I'm guessing the plasterer used to get it from a local barber. I don't find it to be creepy at all. In a weird way, it's kind of cool that our house was built with little bits of the origianl inhabitant of the city.

On the OT - there was a postmortem photo of a baby in our local paper this week. She was a preemie, and the obit included her photo. It was a bit shocking, at first, but more sad than anything.

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lynne"insert appropriate punny phrase here"janet

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Tootsie Plunkette
Buy a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella


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quote:
Originally posted by lynnejanet:
The plaster in our old Victorian house is full of what appears to be short pieces if human hair. I'm guessing the plasterer used to get it from a local barber. I don't find it to be creepy at all. In a weird way, it's kind of cool that our house was built with little bits of the origianl inhabitant of the city.

You mean horses?

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--Tootsie

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Lizzy
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by lynnejanet:
On the OT - there was a postmortem photo of a baby in our local paper this week. She was a preemie, and the obit included her photo. It was a bit shocking, at first, but more sad than anything.

Something like that was printed in an Iowa paper (my family lives there) a few months ago. They wrote up a long obit. about her favorite things, TV shows, etc, even though she was a stillborn baby. I guess they were talking about her time in the womb.

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"Do you see me now? I'm like a fireball . . . with these shoulder pads I have the strength to destroy villages, homes and crops. GEM SWEATER!"

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Lizzy
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by lynnejanet:
On the OT - there was a postmortem photo of a baby in our local paper this week. She was a preemie, and the obit included her photo. It was a bit shocking, at first, but more sad than anything.

Something like that was printed in an Iowa paper (my family lives there) a few months ago. They wrote up a long obit. about her favorite things, TV shows, etc, even though she was a stillborn baby. I guess they were talking about her time in the womb.

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"Do you see me now? I'm like a fireball . . . with these shoulder pads I have the strength to destroy villages, homes and crops. GEM SWEATER!"

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guinea pig
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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This was a common practice in the South (US). My grandmother had 11 children but only (!) nine survived infancy. I was looking through old family pictures with my aunt once when she quickly set aside the pictures of the "sleeping" infants with the comment that she didn't hold with keeping pictures of dead babies. But that was only one of many things that Grandma and Katie Lee didn't agree on.
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