Strange Photography Practices

February 28, 2015 on 5:18 pm | In Article | No Comments

spirit-photo-400Have you even run across a photo and something seemed odd? You know, where everyone looked fine except for one person in the shot, that person looked as though they were dead. Well, oddly enough, taking photos of the diseased was fairly common in the Victorian age.

I ran across several photos, purely by accident online and it reminded me of the tales I had heard long ago about this practice. It seems that when a loved one died, the thought was that it would be the last time the family could be photographed together. In our time, this seems a bit odd. At least to me it does. My family does not take photographs of anyone dead. I do know of others that do on occasion.


In the past many parents would ask for a photograph of their beloved child, but as it goes with children, it was not always easy. Photographers tried to be clever and shroud the mother’s in fabric to hide their appearing in the images. At times it actually worked, but during others it just looks odd. If you didn’t know that was what they were trying to accomplish, ymain-pic_2747585bou would just think the photographer was not great with backdrops.

You may also find in that box of old family photos, some that show “ghosts”. Remember in the 1800’s Spiritualism was the rage. Spiritualism is a belief that spirits of the dead have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. Many charlatans would take a photo of someone that had lost a loved one. They would then add the image of the person’s loved one or a random spirit, while developing the images. The poor grieving person would of course buy the print and usually give money to them as well. Many of these tintype photos are still around. Families have passed them down through the generations. Such a sad practice!

I have seen photos that also show a person wearing every valuable item they own. Jewelry, clothing, whatever, it doesn’t seem to matter. I was informed that it was to show the person’s net worth. Wow. Could you image any of us dressed in all our valuables today? I have more “things” than I should actually say. Today our value on material items would certainly make this interesting to say the least.

Do you have photos that would be fun to share? It is always entertaining to look in the old photo albums or shoe boxes to see what treasures.


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