Monday, June 6, 2016

Dead people don't stand in photos.

Seriously, how could they?

This might be an unpopular post. One reason that myths persist long after they've been disproven is that people want to believe them. Pictures of Victorian dead people are so popular today that people try to forge them. Contemporary imposters are easily spotted and often meant to be art, rather than forgeries, but many fans of Victorian mourning portraits stubbornly refuse to believe they could be wrong about the health of the people in old Victorian photos.

Why does it matter if we enjoy mistaking a person in an old photo for a corpse? Imagine if people in 2116 published your Facebook profile picture as an example of fascinating post-mortem photography. When BBC News published Bethan Bell's article yesterday, full of pictures that she claimed were of people who died, one commenter noted that one of the pictures was of her great-grandmother. 

As it turns out, the commenter's great-grandmother was in fact dead in the photo Bell shared, but this was not the case in some of Bell's other photos.


Bell claims "the youngest child [in the above photo] has died and is propped against a stand for the picture." The type of stand Bell is referring to can be seen clearly in the picture below.

Photo source.
Sadly, Bell has been duped by the persistent myth that these stands were used to prop up corpses for mourning photos. As is evident in this photo, the child being photographed is alive and such a stand is not strong enough to keep a dead person upright. Take a closer look at the stand.


I'm not convinced I could hang my purse on a stand like that without knocking it over, so you may safely assume that, any time you see evidence of one of these stands in a photo, the person is alive.

Bell shares two other photos of people who were alive when the portrait was taken. She asserts that sometimes open eyes were painted onto the photograph. If you've ever tried painting something on a photograph, you will know that this rarely works out well. Because it generally looked terrible, Victorians rarely did so and the woman on the left is sick, but not dead when visited by the photographer (those are her real eyes).


Finally, not all Victorian mourning photos contained pictures of the corpse. It was also common to take a living photo of the deceased and have it reprinted with a phrase, like "Gone to Jesus," in honour of their passing.

The boy on the right was very much alive when the
photo was taken.
A group of contemporary Victorianists have even banned together to create a web site to dispel the kinds of myths about Victorian death photography that Bell and BBC News are currently spreading.

Follow me on Twitter @TinyApplePress and like the Facebook page for updates!

5 comments:

  1. Are you tired of being human, having talented brain turning to a vampire in a good posture in ten minutes, Do you want to have power and influence over others, To be charming and desirable, To have wealth, health, without delaying in a good human posture and becoming an immortal? If yes, these your chance. It's a world of vampire where life get easier,We have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich, You will assured long life and prosperity, You shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness, Stronger and also very fast, You will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk, This is an opportunity to have the human vampire virus to perform in a good posture. If you are interested contact us on Vampirelord7878@gmail.com
    Or Add up on Whats-app +233248104710

    ReplyDelete
  2. As stated by Stanford Medical, It's really the ONLY reason this country's women live 10 years longer and weigh 19 kilos lighter than we do.

    (And really, it is not about genetics or some hard exercise and really, EVERYTHING related to "HOW" they are eating.)

    BTW, What I said is "HOW", not "what"...

    Tap this link to uncover if this short test can help you release your true weight loss possibility

    ReplyDelete
  3. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease his symptoms were shuffling of feet,slurred speech, low volume speech, degradation of hand writing, horrible driving skills, right arm held at 45 degree angle, but now he finally free from the disease with the help of total cure from ULTIMATE LIFE CLINIC, he now walks properly and all symptoms has reversed, he had trouble with balance especially at night, getting into the shower and exiting it is difficult,getting into bed is also another thing he finds impossible.we had to find a better solution for his condition which has really helped him a lot,the biggest helped we had was ultimate life clinic they walked us through the proper steps,am highly recommended this www.ultimatelifeclinic.com to anyone who needs help.

    ReplyDelete