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  • Writer's pictureKati Murphy

Modern Remembrance

Evolution of Mourning Photography


In more recent years, photographs of the deceased have taken on a more candid and informal character, reflecting the way we take and share photographs today. These photographs can be more intimate in comparison to remembrance photos from the late 1800's and early 1900's, which were often taken in a formal portrait setting. Modern vernacular photography of the deceased allows for a more personal perspective and allows the photographer to depict death in a more realistic and less sanitized way. These photographs can be a powerful reminder of the finality and the realness of death, and can be an important tool for coping with grief and loss.



Mourning photography was a popular practice in the 1800s, particularly during the Victorian era. Photography was a relatively new technology during this time, and it provided a way for people to memorialize their loved ones in a way that was not possible before. During this time, mourning photographs were typically formal, studio portraits of the deceased, often taken shortly after death. These photographs were often hand-colored and carefully posed to create an idealized representation of the deceased.


Modern mourning photography is often captured by the family and friends of the deceased, rather than by professional photographers. In more recent times and today, photographs of the deceased are often taken informally, with handheld or digital cameras or even smartphones, and are not necessarily posed or retouched. Mourning photography continues to play an important role in the way people remember and honor their loved ones, and it has been continuously adapted to the technology and culture of our times.

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