Archive → November, 2011
Music taken from the re-release of various Chaplin silent films after sound had been introduced to movies.
Post-mortem photography (also known as memorial portraiture or memento mori) is the practice of photographing the recently deceased.
The invention of the daguerreotype in 1839 made portraiture much more commonplace, as many of those who were unable to afford the commission of a painted portrait could afford to sit for a photography session. This cheaper and quicker method also provided the middle class with a means for memorializing dead loved ones.
Parents posing with their deceased daughter.
These photographs served less as a reminder of mortality than as a keepsake to remember the deceased. This was especially common with infants and young children; Victorian era childhood mortality rates were extremely high, and a post-mortem photograph might be the only image of the child the family ever had. The later invention of the carte de visite, which allowed multiple prints to be made from a single negative, meant that copies of the image could be mailed to relatives.
The practice eventually peaked in popularity around the end of the 19th century and died out as “snapshot” photography became more commonplace, although a few examples of formal memorial portraits were still being produced well into the 20th century.
A post-mortem photograph of a middle-aged man. The body is arranged so as to appear lifelike (circa 1860).
The earliest post-mortem photographs are usually close-ups of the face or shots of the full body and rarely include the coffin. The subject is usually depicted so as to seem in a deep sleep, or else arranged to appear more lifelike. Children were often shown in repose on a couch or in a crib, sometimes posed with a favorite toy or other plaything. It was not uncommon to photograph very young children with a family member, most frequently the mother. Adults were more commonly posed in chairs or even braced on specially-designed frames. Flowers were also a common prop in post-mortem photography of all types.
The effect of life was sometimes enhanced by either propping the subject’s eyes open or painting pupils onto the photographic print, and many early images (especially tintypes and ambrotypes) have a rosy tint added to the cheeks of the corpse.
Later examples show less effort at a lifelike appearance, and often show the subject in a coffin. Some very late examples show the deceased in a coffin with a large group of funeral attendees; this type of photograph was especially popular in Europe and less common in the United States.
Post-mortem photography is still practiced in some areas of the world, such as Eastern Europe. Photographs, especially depicting persons who were considered to be very holy lying in their coffins are still circulated among faithful Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians.
This is a clip from a PBS production called “DNA: The Secret of Life.”
It details the latest research (as of 2005) concerning the process of DNA replication.
Google search the PBS title and you can find the website which has links to many informative sites and interesting clips. This is just a segment detailing replication.
Happens all the time:
The Sriracha Tiger Zoo, an hour’s drive from Bangkok, has been accused of causing its exhibits unnecessary suffering, and of using stunts to gain publicity.
These pictures must have been part of such a set-up, say experts, because it was unnecessary to wrap the piglets in their cute little tiger-skin coats.
It is apparently common practice in Thailand for tigers to suckle pigs, and for pigs to adopt orphaned cubs.
The tigress in these pictures was herself brought up by a sow, and sees pigs as family.
Though she had been given these babies to bring up, it is unclear whether she had lost a litter of her own, as the story claimed.
In another twist, the zoo has been investigated for allegedly breeding tigers for export to China – where tiger parts command high prices for use in traditional medicines.
Sommai Temsiripong, one of the zoo’s owners, was charged with breeding tigers without a licence. On another occasion 23 tigers died of bird flu after being fed infected raw chickens.
Critics say that behind the scenes tigers are bred in poor conditions and the the London Zoological Society has been critical of Sriracha’s animal husbandry.
This home video also reveals the zoo mixed a dog a tiger and a pig in one viewing area: