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photography - 13 08 2003 - 22:25 - katatonik

Arrange them, or bend them

“I will say on this point, because it is a very important one, that you may do just as you please so far as the handling and bending of corpses is concerned. You can bend them till the joints are pliable, and make them assume a natural and easy position. If a person has died, and the friends are afraid that there will be a liquid ejected from the mouth, you can carefully turn them over just as though they were under the operation of an emetic.

You can do that in less than one single minute, and every single thing will pass out, and you can wipe the mouth and wash off the face, and handle them just as well as though they were well persons. Arrange them in this position, or bend them into this position. Then place your camera and take your pictures just as they would look in life, as if standing up before you.

You don’t go down to the foot of the sofa and shoot up this way. Go up on the side of the head and take the picture so that part of the picture that comes off from you will come off above the horizontal line. So it would be as if in a natural position, as if standing or sitting before you … I make these remarks because I think that they may be very valuable to somebody.”

Josiah Southworth, of Southworth & Hawes, in an 1873 panel discussion on techniques of photographic portraiture, describing his approach towards photographing the dead.

Cited from: Jay Ruby, Secure the Shadow, Death and Photography in America.


gHack (Aug 14, 12:54 am) #

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