It seems that people have long underestimated the importance of “funeral” photography. As my interest in Family History has deepened, I have developed a great appreciation for it. The death of those we love often brings together more living family members than does any other event. Even weddings and the blessing of babies is usually limited to a very small group. Not so with funerals. That is why I have become a real advocate for recording the events surrounding a loved-one’s death from before the casket is closed until everyone is gone and the casket sits alone in the cemetery waiting to be buried.
I especially love the symbolism found at funerals and burials. I know it is different from country to country and religion to religion. Children don’t have much exposure to death in our wonderful country. Watching the pall bearers remove their boutonnieres and place them on the casket has captivated this little boy. His great grandmother is being buried today.
In a world where so much is automated, there are certain tasks which remain as they always were. One is carrying a casket to the grave. Years from now these young men will be able to look at photographs to remind them of their duties and of the privilege they had to carry their grandmother and great-grandmother to her final resting place. Rather than just names on a program, funeral photography preserves the feeling of the day for those who were present.
Generous funeral photography makes it possible to preserve the memory for family members who are preoccupied with their duties and thus not thinking much about photographs. Once I have selected the photographs I like I add an old-fashioned look to them. Then I put them together in a very simple book.
Recording the funeral and burial of someone we love is no less important than recording their wedding or their birthday. It is the last page in the Book of Life. Mortal life, that is and evidence of a continuing posterity.