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Photographing a Funeral: Crazy Idea or a Memento for Posterity?

While many of us may have attended a funeral, it is likely that not many of us have seen a photographer at such a service. Photographing a funeral, you may be asking, what would be the benefit of that? Why would you want to record a time of difficulty and heartbreak? Your initial reaction may be “why?” but give this some thought.

It may not be the traditional way, but maybe that is okay. Traditions evolve, just like we do. What was once taboo, is now commonplace – for better or for worse.

For centuries, death has carried with it various ceremonies and rituals. For centuries, we have accepted those ceremonies and rituals as the only way, but of course that is not necessarily the case. Just like there is no right way to grieve, there is no right way to commemorate a loved one in a service.

More and more we are appreciating that death is a vital part of our life cycle; there is grace and beauty in it, just as there is with living. Therefore, just as we capture the beautiful moments of life, we can capture them in death as well.

Photographs of our loved ones at their most vulnerable and open can be powerful memories to behold in later years. Furthermore, even though the circumstances are upsetting, a funeral can offer a rare opportunity for all family and close friends to come together in their grief—always something that bears appreciation in some form. And finally, the lost loved one can be memorialized in these pictures; they are a tangible expression of all the love and support that they had in life and continue to have in death.

Consider this, maybe all of our experiences are worth of capture. Maybe it is not only birthday candles and dance recitals that deserve photographic tribute, but also the times when we are heartbroken, world-weary and need support from our loved ones. When you remember your life, you will remember the good times and the bad, because both shape you into the person that you become. So perhaps it is not so crazy that photographs do the same—capture the laughter and the tears, remind you for years to come of what you felt and how you dealt with it.

What do you think? Is photography at a funeral something that you would consider? Or is this something that seems unnecessary? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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