12 Vintage Victorian Postmortem Photos

12 Vintage Victorian Postmortem Photos
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The Victorians were a strange people. They had all kinds of customs and rituals revolving around their social status. One thing that stands out prominently is Memento Mori. Although it is not Victorian, it pre-dates it by a century, it is latin for “remember you will die.” This began the frenzy of postmortem photography. In it’s earliest form it did not include things like coffins or gravesides, rather it would be people whom are dead, set as if they were still living and photographed. Many times these photographs were taken with people whom were still alive. Think about taking a picture with your 5-year-old little sister if you were still alive… talk about freaky. Yet still, these fancy Victorian found it to be very posh.

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1. The child to the left of the photo has passed, and you can tell this by the relaxed way that the child is leaning on the chair. However, there is a lot that goes into whether the child on the right is also deceased because of the prop that is behind her. You cannot tell if she is being held up. The way she grips the side of the chair makes you consider whether or not she is in fact alive.

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2. This is a family portrait where the parents are grieving for their child that passed. The child is sat upright on the toy horse, and you can tell that he is deceased by the way the eyes are painted on. In addition, the parents somber faces paint a picture that is not so pleasant for this one. If you didn’t look closely at the young boys eyes, you probably wouldn’t have thought anything different.

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3. I guess one can talk one’s head off, literally. Actually for such a stuffy type, the Victorian’s were one of the first to work with what we now have coined “photo editing.” Once Victorian’s noticed the boom in the photography business they stopped at nothing to find new ways to manipulate images and create new things, and voila headless photos for all. Can you imagine doing this without photoshop?

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www.technocrazed.com

4. The child on the left is deceased. There are a few indicators in this picture that tell you so. The rope on the wrist of the child is to hold the hand up in a pose that makes it seem like the child is still alive. In addition, the eyes have been painted onto the picture. The other hand of the child is discolored and decomposing, showing that the child is no longer living. The poor child on the right however is very much a life and clearly scared.

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5. “How do you do miss?” What a polite man. This picture however makes us stop and wonder. Is this man actually dead? Stay with us, I understand the photography trickery here to make it seem as if he is beheaded but it also looks like he has been tied to the chair. Check out the hand holding the pan on which his head is laid. Does it not look like a rope runs between that hand and his opposite leg?  Oh these Victorians, they never know when to stop.

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6.This man is deceased and you can tell by the stand that is out up behind him. The stand is there to hold him upright for the picture. They would try to make their subjects look as real and natural as possible and by placing the stand there and posing them, they would be able to do this. The chair was also used as a prop for additional support in the picture.

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www.photostruct.com

7.This is a hard picture to tell which child is alive and which ones are passed. It is quite possible that everyone in the picture has passed. For certain, we know that the child laying on the lap of the mother is deceased, in addition to the child standing to the left of the sitting one. This is because we can notice the stand behind this child. As for the other two, we are not certain.

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8.Are all three of the children in this picture deceased? I would guess that two of three are. The two that are to the left while the one on the right has made it. Everything looks posed in this picture, but the one on the right hand side looks like he sat still and there is no stand holding him in place. The child in the middle looks like he got shot in the head.

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9. What a gentleman, he put her head right in his lap for the whole world to see. But hey don’t knock it until you try it, because she is the one who is smirking. I looked all over for ways to see if they were actually dead in this photo. But alas no rope or stand holding them up. Just a man who likes his wife’s face near his balls, pretty standard issue.

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www.buzzfeed.com

Both children in this picture are deceased. You can tell because of the props in the back by their feet that are helping to hold the girls up. These props are what shows that they are gone. If there are no props in the pictures, no stands then you can assume that they are living unless they are laying on a chair or a couch. The eyes were generally etched onto the film when they were developed to make them look alive, but these look pretty darn real.

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www.flickr.com

This is a picture of a girl that is deceased. You can tell that she is being sat up with the help of a parent that is behind her. You can see his shoulder to the right of her. He is most likely holding her head and shoulders up behind the blanket. She is in a wheelchair, which also shows that perhaps she had some sort of sickness that might have caused her death.

www.photostruct.com

www.photostruct.com

This is a picture of a man and his deceased wife. This is a picture that shows love. However, many people did not have this done and this might be the only picture that they have of each other together. They are both in black which shows that someone has died and you can tell she is the deceased by the expression that is on her face and the sad, far off look in her husbands.