I have to start this article with a confession: I have never suffered a tragic loss like the ones in these images.
I have lost a grandparent but was too young to truly understand what that means.
So I can’t say that I understand the suffering these families must have felt when they decided to take these photos.
Yes, that’s right, these photos are families with a deceased loved one.
Although the practice can seem morbid and creepy, it’s actually quite moving.
These photos show the last moment these Victorians had with a person who filled their heart with love. In many images I found, that person was a child.
So instead of being grossed out, take a minute to appreciate these Victorian post-mortem photographs.
1. Some of the photos are what you would expect: the last image of an elderly relative.
2. Others were more depressing in nature, such as this one where a mother holds her deceased daughter.
3. And still more are quite tragic, such as this couple holding their baby who has passed away.
4. Capturing the last image of a deceased child seemed to be common in Victorian times. Sometimes they would place the child doing what they had loved to do most, such as this girl among her dolls. They would also be seen with those they loved most, which you’ll see in number six.
5. Family members would often be in the picture, showing the love they had for their lost loved one.
6. They often wouldn’t just have one family member, but would instead show where the person fit in their home.
7. While some are sitting or lying down, others were held up by a stand or helped by an assistant. You can see that here, where a hand is holding up the boy’s head.
8. Photographers would do other things to make people look more “alive,” such as poke pupils in the deceased’s eyes. Some efforts were more obvious than others, such as number 9.
9. Photographs took a while, so it was hard for people to stay still. This makes it easy to pick out the deceased person in this image, who would have been perfectly still.
10. Other times, photographers would simply lay the child down as if he or she were asleep.
11. The images weren’t just for people either. You think YOU loved your lost kitty? The Victorians took it to a new level.
12. Still others look so real it’s hard to believe the person is gone. Perhaps that’s exactly what their family intended.