Wednesday, May 27, 2009

post-mortem dolls

Post-mortem photography, particularly of children seems to retain a sense of mystery and a doll like atmosphere. There is a sense that the body has become a material to be recreated and dressed much like they would have liked to have seen the child in life. A sort of nostalgic recollection etched into memory.. more real in death then in life. Many comments have been made on the subject.. some related to the fact that these are just dead children.. and that is all.. no sense of putting an atmosphere around it that wasn't there. This is true in a sense.. it is nothing more then that for some people living today (much like an actual haunted house is no more then a house), but back then in the 19th century there was a very big search and quest to see and speak with the dead.. to touch the spirits that seemed to live with us yet separate. Living with the dead was something that was seen by all to be a part of their lives.. and something not to be parted with or thrown aside.. a keep sake... something to hold dear.. There was a sense that the dead bodies retained some sense of soul.. some sort of spirit and atmosphere... a haunted feeling.. a similarity in part to dolls possibly..

- s

(most of these images may have been seen over and over.. but i picked out certain ones to pinpoint the look and feeling of how close the reference is to : a doll, the look of the living compared to the dead, angelic, a sense of a presence within the body, a haunted atmosphere)

(in this one the girl on the left is dead, the right one is alive)

1 comment:

Joanna Thomas said...

These are so strange and sad but in a sense beautiful too. You can tell that these children were dearly loved as the parents grasp to hold onto them. The one with the dolls is particularly eerie. Like she has in a way become a doll herself propped up and so lifeless. I had a 3 year niece that died tragically and suddenly and because of the circumstances surrounding her passing we were unable to view her. What a tragedy that was for all those left. Because of that I can totally understand these pictures and the parents grieving process.
It is strange but death in itself is strange...