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Post Mortem Photography: A Practice to Immortalize Memory

Post mortem photography

Taking photographs of the deceased on his deathbed was a practice that was born shortly after conventional photography.

It is believed that this had its first origins in France and that at first it was only a privilege enjoyed by the wealthy families of society and the most illustrious personalities, those who sought to preserve the physical integrity of their loved ones through photography, in order to thus remember them over the years.

What was the practice of post mortem photography based on?

The practice of post-mortem photographs consisted of dressing the corpse preferably in the best clothes or with his favorite clothes and making him participate in a final portrait with the family or individually.

Snapshot in which your memory would be permanently captured.

The mortuary photograph It was not considered morbid for some, since death with sentimental airs was conceived through this artistic expression.

While, for another part of the dissatisfied society, it consisted of a desecration of religion and the deceased.

The vestiges that led to the creation of this type of art were previously reflected in the Renaissance, where the technique was the portrait through painting in the so-called memento mori, phrase that was translated as Remember that you are mortal.

In this way the artist made it known through his work that death was a sure fact for all human beings which would arrive at the time designated by God.

Post mortem rites around the world

America There was no exception to this type of enterprise, only that, in a different way, since the Mayans were in charge of immortalizing the face of the deceased by carving jade masks.

In other pre-Columbian cultures The face of the deceased was imprinted in clay and then fired.

In Europe The engraving on tombstones appeared, thus making a tribute to the body of the deceased, the sculptures many times did not meet the exact measurements of the deceased, but they were in charge of transmitting his memory.

The culture of Ancient Egypt He mummified the Pharaohs with the feat of preserving their physical appearance for eternity and thus guaranteeing their passage to another better world.

Post mortem photography in Cuba

In Cuba and other South American countries, post-mortem paintings were customary and later photographs were established, although they did not become as popular as in other countries, they left their mark on our mortuary traditions, a custom that has survived to this day.

Although the most popular mortuary practices on the island are the making of epitaphs and the placement of photographs on the grave of the deceased.

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