Reader submission – a dapper gent!

skull illusion victorian post mortem photography memento mori sippel

This vintage photograph was sent in by Laurie S., who explained that although she had read that there was no such thing as a ‘standing’ post mortem photograph, the ‘dotted in’ eyes on this subject intrigued her.

I happen to think that there are occasional examples of standing post mortem images, but I am very far from being an expert and am well aware that other website owners would disagree with me wholeheartedly. Each to their own, as they say.

Anyway it’s a moot point in this case, because I don’t think for one moment that the gentlemen in this photo (which hadn’t been described or sold as a post mortem) is anything other than alive*, and the eyes had simply come out a bit blurred so the photographer did a bit of early photo editing.

Your thoughts, lovely readers?

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*at the time the photo was taken. Yes I know he’d be dead by now, hahaha, if only I had a pound for every time I’d heard that quip, etc etc…

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7 Responses to Reader submission – a dapper gent!

  1. Dixie says:

    I agree. He is standing way to straight and supporting his own weight. That one stand would not have held up a grown man that well. It is too bad the photographer dotted the eyes, because it ruins the photo.

  2. SailorAlphaCentauri says:

    I don’t know. I have seen several pictures of post-mortem bodies standing up, but usually the loop from the stand is around the waist of the body. Also, the stand can hold up a grown man (I’ve seen an image of an older man posed this way), but I agree with Dixie’s assessment that he is standing under his own power. The poses of the dead I’ve seen like this do not look this natural.

  3. Theresa says:

    I don’t know. I does appear that there is a stand behind him. Also, his bent knee doesn’t appear to be doing anything other than being bent for aesthetics. He is still rather straight up having a bent knee and all. I think it’s PM.

    • Laurie S says:

      I also was thinking the same thing. I want my husband to try to stand in that position and see if it feels natural. His knee seems scrunched up to the pillar and he looks off balance to me. The stand could have been used to hold a live person still, so that is not a sure sign. Could justt be an awkward pose.

  4. rocketgirl says:

    He is dead. See right behind his legs there is a stand. they had stands to stand up dead people to make them look alive. Also how long could you stand in that position with your arm like that?

    • Violet says:

      Hiya, thanks for taking time to post! Actually the vast majority of ‘standing’ PM pics are not dead people at all – those stands were mostly used to hold people in position without moving during the long exposure time. But I do think that some are genuinely PM. It’s just not always easy to tell ;)

    • I think this man is dead and is held up with a stand they used back then for that purpose. I think it was easier for them to stand them and make it look more natual if a knee was bent. Their weight was on the stand and not on their own legs. They liked to do something with their arms so it would look natural. So I think that is why his arm is posed that way. It would really show he was dead if both arms were just hanging. I feel so bad for the families of all these people who lost someone and had just post mortem picture to remember them by. My Grandma and her family had a lot of pictures like this of family members who died before their time. Very sad.

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