Bereavement Photography Making a Comeback


In Victorian times, mourning family members often staged photographic portraits of dead children and other loved ones prior to burial. In later generations, this practice came to be viewed as morbid — which led to the destruction of thousands of these so-called “bereavement portraits.” Examples of 19th-century bereavement photographs can be found here and here.

Thanks to services such as Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Touching Souls and others, bereavement portraits are shaking their stigma to provide comfort to the parents of childen who are stillborn or die in infancy. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep was started by Cheryl and Michael Haggard in 2005 after they lost their son Maddux six days after he was born. They tell the story of creating the non-profit organization here, in a letter to their son.

[tags]photography, photo blog, bereavement, scott baradell[/tags]


3 Responses to “Bereavement Photography Making a Comeback”

  1. I am interested in getting into this type of photography. I am semi-pro and use my camera to express my emotions. This type of photography can be horribly morbid but it can also be very healing for the families if it it done right. I know that if it is done with compassion and love it can be a beautiful memory picture for those left behind by the death of a loved one.

  2. I live in the UK where this type of photography is in its infancy.
    Whilst I would like to offer my services as a photographer to bereaving families, I would in no way like to image the dead. I see this type of photography, in the UK anyway, heading down the path of imaging the mourners at the graveside or outside the Crematorium etc. Some times a funeral is the only time a whole family actually meets at one spot in time!

  3. lauren I am a professional photographer and active volunteer for nilmdts...if you want to chat plz email me at [email protected]

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