This post mortem photograph was flagged up on the Skull’s Facebook page by a reader who thought it would be worth including here. As I said at the time – although I had seen the photo before, I’d always been unsure as to whether it should be classed as a post mortem photo, at least in the way such pictures are generally perceived.
Most post mortem or memento mori images were created to be just that – a memento of a lost loved one. Whereas this photograph of the Dalton Gang is almost a trophy – proof that the lawmen (eventually) won out. They’re being photographed to prove a point, not out of respect. On the other hand, a gun is laid symbolically across them – I wonder if it’s one of theirs, or whether it belonged to whoever killed them?
I’d also be interested to know if there’s a reason for them being laid out without their boots on – anyone?