Sunday, December 22, 2013

Family Death Portrait-Full View of a Real Dead Clamp

 They called this a dead clamp.  It was clamped onto a person who had died, in order to pose them to take a picture.  This was a common practice from the 1860's to about the 1930's.  The practice is also called Momento Mori and Victorian Mourning Photographs.   Photographs were expensive, so you often did not have a picture of your loved one. If they died suddenly, the first place you went with their dead body, was the photographer. 
 In this photo, you can plainly see the clamp behind the young woman standing. When these pictures were taken, it often took 5 minutes of being perfectly still to get a good picture.  The person sitting in these images is often alive and they are sitting because it took so long to take the picture.  It was for their comfort.  Notice in this picture also that the woman standing has black hands. She may have been dead for some time before they took her there. 
 Here you see a fireman?  You can also see the dead clamp down by his feet.  I find it amazing that, in most of these death portraits, you can't really tell they are dead.

In this picture, once again, you can see the dead clamp down by her feet.  Otherwise, you would never know she was dead.  I think it would be sad to look at the picture, knowing she was dead, but comforted to have an image of her to always remember.  Yes, it is disturbing to us today, but I understand why they did it. 
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