Pale Flowers…Victorian Post-mortem Photographyby Meghan October 4, 2011 13 comments
Imagine walking into someone’s living room, and seeing a large and beautifully staged portrait of them posing with their brother, sister, mother or father. Except the other person in the photo is a pale, waxy corpse, dressed up and slumped in a chair or leaning on the living for support. Maybe their lifeless form is draped across a decorated table, or their limbs are propped on an armchair, their sightless, glassy eyes staring out at you. Despite my fascination with dark imagery, I would probably think this person was a fucking psycho and run out of their house as fast as I could. But one hundred years ago in America and the UK, seeing portraits of dead relatives or children on people’s walls was totally normal, and in fact expected. While today, we prefer to remember our ancestors as they lived, the Victorians felt that capturing their dead flesh was a way to pay respect to their passing. I spent a while searching for some of the creepiest Victorian post-mortem photography on the net, and I found an overwhelming amount of dead babies, so I just had to stop looking after a while. After the jump, check out the array of corpse photos I have put together for you, with a minimum of dead babies, they are by far the creepiest!