This is my first postmortem photograph. Maybe it’s the start of a new obsession, but I doubt it. The main problem with collecting such work is its relative scarcity, and therefore, it’s prohibitive price. The retail value of this mourning art collectible is probably $250. I paid $20. While I have friends who attend estate sales of funeral homes and have greater access to such ephemera, the occasional flea market find is about all I’m capable of.
I’m curious as to whether the 13x17 inch metal frame dates back to the same era. I'm also curious as to where I might display this dark treasure. A friend of mine who I ran into at the Punk Rock Flea Market saw me on the street a few days later and asked if I had hung it in my house. I replied that the only place that my wife would probably allow it would be in the basement behind the water heater.
|Replica of mourning ribbon|
|New Orleans woman attends her funeral social! (ref.)|
As an aside, it does seem that contemporary postmortem photography may actually be on the rise in the United States. On June 12, 2014, a woman in New Orleans (photo above) was propped up at a table as the guest of honor at her own going-away party (click link for story). Presumably, guests had their pictures taken with her. On January 31, 2014, a family had their dead boxer son propped up in a mock boxing ring (photo below) and posed with him for photographs (click link for story).
|Puerto Rican family poses with dead boxer son (ref.)|
Postmortem photographs made by the "E. Stern studio:"