Framing The World Through My Photographs
Post Mortem photography has always fascinated be and creeped me out at the same time.
I had alway been aware of the custom of taking these types of photographs but I had never really considered why.
A fellow classmate sent me a link to Rosalisa Lombardo. Rosalisa also known as ‘Sleeping beauty’ is a mummy of a two year old girl who died of pneumonia 1n the 1920. Her body was preserved by an embalmer Alfredo Salafia. Although embalming is not a photographic practice the thought was the same, to preserve the memories of the deceased loved one.
Rosalia’s body lays in the Capuchin Catacombs, still nearly as perfect, with only small signs of decay. In 2009 an MRI scan was taken of her body, which showed that all of her organs were in tacked, this is due to how she was preserved.
“Postmortem photography is as old as photographic practice”
Photography before the early 1900s was expensive, with not everyone being able to afford regular photographs. Particularly in the 19th century when death rate was high in infants there may not have been the opportunity to get a photo when they were alive, so the opportunity of postmortem photography was a way to immortalise them.
Ruby, J. (1995) Secure the shadow: death and photography in America. United States: MIT Press.