Friday, August 2
Is this a Death Portrait?
Something I always keep an eye out for when searching for old photographs are postmortem portraits. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept; back in the day if somebody died and the family didn't have any pictures of them, they would simply pose their deceased relative for a photo before burying them. Sometimes it would just be the dead person in the photo, sometimes the family would pose with them. But, no matter what, it was all really damn creepy. (Which, of course, makes it super cool.)
I came across the above photo about a month ago and feel pretty sure that it's a death portrait. Look at her lifeless stare - out and above the camera with eyes that didn't move during the exposure. If this girl had been living, there would have been at least a little movement of her eyes and they wouldn't be so sharp in the photo.
However a couple of my friends, to whom I have shown the photograph, disagree. They say that the girl was probably alive for the photo and that I'm willing myself to see it as a postmortem portrait because that's what I want it to be. But I just don't know about that.
Please tell me what you think - Am I correct to think this is a death portrait? Or are my friends right when they say I'm just seeing what I want to see? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.