A few months ago, we introduced you to the eerie practice of Post-Mortem Photography, also known as Memento Mori. It must have caught you off-guard last time, so now, we're giving a warning--the photos and stories after the jump are not for the faint-hearted. Let's start the series with portraits of men, taken shortly after their passing.
Just a quick recap: Post-mortem photography, also called memorial portraiture or memento mori, was a common practice for mourning and paying last respects to the dead that peaked during the Victorian Era. It involved photographing the deceased shortly after death, either in close up or full body. Although rare, some were also photographed while in eternal slumber on their coffins.
Not all memento mori photographs, though, show the dead in deathly repose. An interesting variation made efforts to depict them as if they were still alive and simply resting. To achieve this, special braces and chairs were used to prop and brace the deceased into positions that are somewhat more lifelike. Sometimes, eyes would even be propped open, or at least create the illusion of being open by painting over the closed eyelids.
Despite its prevalence in Europe, post-mortem photography was also practiced in other parts of the world, like Syria, Russia, and Mexico, as evidenced by the photos below:
Now, it’s time for the main attraction to prepare us for the spooky season hovering around the corner. Scroll down to view a gallery of interesting post-mortem portraits of men…if you dare!
Sources and additional readings:
Post-mortem Photography — Wikipedia
Creepy Post Mortem Photos From The Victorian Age — The Seventh Sense
Memento Mori: Spooky Post Mortem Photography — Lomography Magazine