Funeral photography?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by phil_kneen, May 5, 2002.

  1. Right,we go to weddings, christenings, parties, club dinners, etc and there is always a photographer there, well I have a fantastic idea.

    <p>

    Funeral photographer. Come on now, think about it, you could have a set of prints to remember your loved ones at their last hours on this Earth.AND, the Leica RF would be the perfect tool for the job, no noise.

    <p>

    Is that a bleedin' great idea or what?
     
  2. Your fantastic bleedin' great idea is not novel.

    <p>

    I have taken pictures, for hire, at more than several funerals. Some
    have asked for images of the person who passed on, in their casket,
    but most have not. I usually take a few anyway (co-ordinate with
    funeral director), since the first funeral I shot included none of
    those, and I was asked by other family members later on for one (and I
    came up short). If they don't ask, I won't present it, and the
    pictures in the casket are always done before or after the viewing,
    never with other people and family members around.

    <p>

    The REAL reason for photos at a funeral, is that in many instances,
    family, friends, loved ones, old school chums, have come from long
    distances to pay their respects. It is a gathering of people who's
    common thread is intertwined around the departed. Often, or more
    like usually, there is just not a chance otherwise to get photos of
    these folks together, and that is why I have photographed funerals.
    It is a moving, and touching experience in every case, and in every
    case, I have been made to feel like a member of the family.

    <p>

    I usually use a Hasselblad 500c/m, 60mm Distagon, and a 12x18 softbox
    with a 283 in it. Sometimes I switch to the 80mm Planar for better
    face shots since when you get real close with the softbox it tends to
    have falloff on the bottom of the image (closer than 4 feet or so).

    <p>

    I usually just mill around in the back of the funeral parlor, and
    people seek me out, bringing others with them. It works well that
    way, since I can arrange them on the ample, and stately funiture.

    <p>

    I consider funeral photography a valuable asset to the families of
    those who have died. I have run into some flack tho, from funeral
    directors who insisted on a "cut", usually 25 percent, of my proceeds
    because "their photographer" was not used. The two times that
    happened, one I ate, and one I had them arrange to tack onto the
    funeral expense at large. My feeling is that their photographer
    either did not exist, or charge an exhorbitant fee to cover himself
    and the funeral home.
     
  3. ................that's just sick.
     
  4. Well I wasn't gonna add this, then I was, then I wasn't... but what
    the heck, here goes......

    <p>

    I would be willing to wager that many users of this forum would be
    overjoyed at photographing "your" funeral, pro-bono even!

    <p>

    Sorry... I just could not resist, damn me to hell.
     
  5. You're right... 25 percent is sickening. We agree about that!
     
  6. .......oh God, I was only joking.........Charles, please tell me
    you're joking too?......please.
     
  7. Wishing death on someone, not something I have ever done on this site
    or any other come to think of it, But hey, If you want me dead then
    that's fine.

    <p>

    You really are a sick little puppy aren't you Charles?
     
  8. I actually posted a rather long thread on the LUG once about how I
    felt the Nikon F100 with zoom lens and flash on bracket was the
    perfect rig for weddings, and the Leica M with a couple of lenses was
    ideal for funerals. The wedding shots really glow with fill flash, and
    the big rig gives one a bit of authority in the crowd control
    department ("O.K., all the bride's family on this side!") In contrast,
    the M fits right into a discrete, unobtrusive documenting of what is
    generally a quiet family scene. I can't help but pass on Mark Twain's
    comment that the reason we are happy at weddings and sad at funerals
    is that we are not the actual parties involved. ;+)
     
  9. I was at a funeral a few weeks ago that was not only
    photographed (with a huge Nikon SLR) but also videotaped.

    <p>

    I also remember visiting a distant aunt when I was a kid who had
    a photo album devoted to her husbands funeral on her coffee
    table. I recall being particularly creeped out by the pictures
    (some of which were tightly framed headshots) of the corpse.

    <p>

    And, yes, funeral directors have quite a reputation for being
    racketeers. One of the reasons I'll be cremated when I check
    out. No need for a $7,000 casket, a $10,000 plot, and a $5,000
    funeral service. I'd rather spend the money on something fun
    while I'm alive.
     
  10. Charles, that was a rotton thing to say. Nobody deserves that, not
    even the forum's most deleted participant!
     
  11. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    [​IMG]
    R.I.P. Wally, Copyright 2001 Jeff Spirer
    My wife's grandfather. Every family member has this photo hanging in their hown. It's just one more memory...
     
  12. ........I'm lost for words......photographing and videoing a funeral,
    it's just too American.
     
  13. the operative word here is "bleedin'".....
     
  14. Friends: Please IGNORE Phil. He is a perpetual nuisance to our
    forum. Don't fall for his silly threads. Tony will yank him soon.
     
  15. Have a look at Sudek's funeral shots.
     
  16. Albert, stop whining you half-wit
     
  17. Albert, stop whining you half-wit.
     
  18. wow, 2 post, how bizarre? How apt?
     
  19. Phil,how about a more cheerful post!
     
  20. How about - 'What is the best film for capturing the pale tones of my
    dead granny as she lies in her coffin?'
     
  21. If that is cheerful,lets go for sad.
     
  22. Phil the Pro,what photography is really all about.What is a good
    photograph,what sort of impact should it create.Now that would be a
    interesting post...how about it Phil(honest question).
     
  23. This thread is dead boring...
     
  24. Jeff, R.I.P. Walley is a great & emotionally moving shot. No wonder
    everyone has it. Really top notch photography.
     
  25. Allen, I've said it a million times, photography is nothing to do
    with gear or magazines or forums, it's to do with photographs. A
    single picture can mean a thousand different things to a thousand
    different people. A good photo to me is one that makes me think '
    *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*, I wish I'd taken that'.

    <p>

    The only photo that has come close to reducing me to tears is a
    piture of a starving albino Biafran kid taken by Don McCullin.Most of
    the photo's on this site have the same effect, but the tears are
    tears of bordom and frustration. (honest answer)
     
  26. A good photo to me is one that makes me think ' I wish I'd taken that'

    <p>

    Good answer i agree whatever the photo is about.
     
  27. Phil, I apologize... I didn't wish you dead, it was a joke (an
    irrisistable one!). I'm "dead" serious on the funeral photography
    though. Its a service that is needed, and which the photographic
    community provides. Heck in N'Orleans they have bands at a
    traditional funeral!

    <p>

    Once again, I'm sorry for the tasteless joke.
     
  28. What a coincidence!!! My grandmother died this weekend and the
    funeral is Wednesday. Now I can cash those savings bonds Grammy had
    given me. As a tribute to her, I'm going to phtotgraph her funeral
    and create a lasting remembrance of her. For the job I've decided to
    spend my inheritance on a new M7 and to use it to photograph my
    granny's send-off. My question is this: SHOULD I GET SILVER OR
    BLACK?

    <p>

    Please help!!! The funeral is Wednesday. Thanks a bunch, guys.

    <p>

    Dennis
     
  29. I just shot a funeral a few months ago as a favor for a friend's
    family and the experience was quite unnerving. Flash was out of the
    question so I used an M6 with 75mm and 35mm 'lux, TMZ (at 1600)and
    Scala. Everything turned out nicely. CN400 would have been better.
     
  30. Dennis: I would go with a black armband, and whatever color camera
    you would like.

    <p>

    MJ
     
  31. Phil (and others) - rent the video of the movie "The Loved One" for one
    view of the American way of death - Jeff's picture is, by comparison, a
    model of propriety, grace, and beauty.

    <p>

    No, it's a model of propriety, grace and beauty - period.
     
  32. ...or "Harold and Maude". A young millionaire son has a common
    interest in funerals with an old penniless woman.
     
  33. Well, I stand corrected, funeral photography must be the next big
    thing to cross the Atlantic, I think I'll give it a miss though!

    <p>

    Charles, I forgive you.
     
  34. I don't hang out on funerals too often. But about one month ago the
    husbund of my girlfriend's sister hanged himself. He left his wife
    (my girlfriend's sister) and three doughters (age 11, 16 and 19).
    First I thought to report the funeral, but than I decided to leave my
    cameras at home, because I didn't want to hurt anybody. Well, when I
    arrived at the funeral the widow herself asked me why I didn't bring
    my cameras with me. Pretty strange experience for me.
    Best regards, Michael
     
  35. Constantine Manos took photographs of the funeral of a black soldier
    killed in Viet Nam.

    <p>

    http://www.magnumphotos.com/portfolio/mac/macbio.html

    <p>

    which became an important record of the times. The most famous
    picture in the set was a close up of a young girl with a tear running
    down her face taken with an M Leica with 90mm lens. Cheers!
     
  36. Wow, just spotted this forum... Back in 2001 i bought www.funeralphotography.com Now i sit and wait for the world to become a little more open minded to the whole idea. Incidentally i bury my much loved Granddad in two days but i am in two minds as to wether i should take pictures. The camera often acts as filter on the world and i think i could do with (being there) and mourning properly.
    005pG6-14180684.jpg
     
  37. Phil,
    " Well, I stand corrected, funeral photography must be the next big thing to cross the Atlantic, I think I'll give it a miss though! "
    Alas, the idea is not new ... Portraits of the deceased were already common in the time of the daguerreotype. I guess that the funerals themselves were moving too fast for the photographers of the time (no autoexposure AF digital SLRs, no Leicas either ...)
    For instance :
    go down to the 3/4 of the page
    or here ...
     
  38. Well,<p>
    I went to my Grandads funeral but left my camera at home... I wish i
    had taken it. I had organised the funeral and was thinking of other
    things, obviously.<p>

    Then just after my Brother and i lowered the casket into the ground i
    had one of those moments where i instinctively reach for my camera.<
    p>

    The scene was beautiful, a field deep in the British countryside,
    (green burial). At the foot of the grave a violinist played the most
    beutiful of tunes as the family took it in turns to throw single red
    roses onto the coffin. I looked across at my Brother as he looked up
    at me and we both smiled...<p>

    My Grandad would of loved it. He always thought of himself as the
    Don. I want to remember that moment forever. A picture would have
    helped.<p>

    Anyway i was inspired and saw all the good reasons for capturing
    images at funerals. (Especially when family that couldn't make it
    asked for pictures.) So with my basic web knowledge i have started to
    build http://www.funeralphotography.com<p>

    If someone finds it and asks, i will take pictures. If not, then the
    option is always there for someone to stumble apon.
     
  39. I had thought about this and not surprised that people do it and the out crys it creates. My uncle is on his death bed and I'm thinking of taking some photos of the funeral. His wife and my aunt (His ex-wife) allowing.

    And when the day comes... (Hopefully not soon). I will photograph my father's Funeral.

    I see nothing sick or wrong with it. As long as it's done in a tasteful and respectful manner.

    <OB>
     

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