Funerals?

nycphotography

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You have photos taken at a funeral... why? Just in case you ever have the urge to reminisce about one of the worst days of your life? I don't get it.

Consider that for most families, weddings and funerals are about the only time they ever get together.

edit: And they're all dressed their best too.
 
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esselle

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You have photos taken at a funeral... why? Just in case you ever have the urge to reminisce about one of the worst days of your life? I don't get it.

I agree but won't go there.
 

rlemert

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When my dad died last fall we didn't have a funeral (he was cremated), but we did have a memorial service and a reception. I'm uncertain about whether or not I would have appreciated photos being taken at the memorial service, but I actually would like to have had photos from the reception. Many of the people there were people I had not seen in ages or, in some cases, was meeting for the first time. They were all people that were important in my dad's life, and in some cases they made a significant journey to be there.

In our case the reception was at least as much a celebration of dad's life as it was a mourning of his death. He was 85 and not in the best of health, so his passing was not unexpected. The memorial service was also held about a month after he died, so people had had time to process the situation. Situations like the one you're in or that Darrel had to deal with are very different environments.

I guess my point with this is that different people will view the situation in different ways. In the end you can only do what's right for you, and if you do take photos be considerate of others.
 

frommrstomommy

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I wouldn't do it. We did take pictures after my grandfather's funeral a few years back though. My mom's side of the family very rarely sees each other.. so they got some photos afterwards.
 
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esselle

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts; that's it exactly. I find it tacky and quite frankly, strange. This is one of her cousins...and having talked with her about it more this morning, it isn't for her "pleasure" but she seems to be viewing this as a reunion, from the sounds of it. The after get together, is at her house. I said to her, this isn't a family reunion, there will be ppl who are there just because they feel obligated and probably won't care about someone taking pictures but there will be people in mourning for heavens sakes.

Do I think I could tastefully do this? Yes. Do I want to? No. I think the best thing would be maybe to go and feel it out. She wants some pictures at the funeral though. I asked why and she said that part of life, is death. She grew up with this cousin and she wants this. This has been a hard morning.

Derrell...my gosh, that had to be hard. :(


A cousin? NO, I would not do it. Not worth offending those who are much more closely related to the deceased. And really, it IS for her "pleasure." I don't mean she'd get a kick out of doing it, I mean that, as you said, she is seeing this as a reunion, a social event, so might as well snap some pics to remember it! That's "for pleasure" in my book.
If she wants pictures of the funeral, I'd just say "sorry, I'm not comfortable doing that" and let her take a point-and-shoot and take pictures herself.

I have two cousins who are essentially like sisters to me. We grew up next door to each other and have always been extremely close. In fact, their kids refer to me and my sibs as aunts and uncles.
I *still* would not presume to have a photographer cover their funeral just because *I* wanted pictures. I *might* suggest it to the person making the arrangements (well, no I wouldn't because I find it creepy and a bit tacky, but IF I wanted the photos, I'd request the main person consider that, I wouldn't just take it upon myself to have one there.)

The get-together at HER house? She can do what she wants there, and I see nothing particularly wrong with taking pictures in that setting.
thank you! This is the right thing to do. I am no saint, but this just doesn't "feel right." Whether some of that is my own personal feelings about funerals or what...it makes me uncomfortable. You're a blessing!

I think I have my answer and I can't thank u enough for your input everyone. (((Hugs)))
 

jwbryson1

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this is what they wanted.

As long as everybody attending was aware of this, then I get your point. I'd hate for somebody who didn't hire the photographer to get the wrong idea and question why there was a photographer at such an event. With raw emotions, things can get heated quickly...
 
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esselle

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When my dad died last fall we didn't have a funeral (he was cremated), but we did have a memorial service and a reception. I'm uncertain about whether or not I would have appreciated photos being taken at the memorial service, but I actually would like to have had photos from the reception. Many of the people there were people I had not seen in ages or, in some cases, was meeting for the first time. They were all people that were important in my dad's life, and in some cases they made a significant journey to be there.

In our case the reception was at least as much a celebration of dad's life as it was a mourning of his death. He was 85 and not in the best of health, so his passing was not unexpected. The memorial service was also held about a month after he died, so people had had time to process the situation. Situations like the one you're in or that Darrel had to deal with are very different environments.

I guess my point with this is that different people will view the situation in different ways. In the end you can only do what's right for you, and if you do take photos be considerate of others.

What a moving post. A celebration of life. Seriously, I'm sitting here thinking about that. So, did you take any photos of that event?
And, I'm sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was a special man.
 

nycphotography

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this is what they wanted.

As long as everybody attending was aware of this, then I get your point. I'd hate for somebody who didn't hire the photographer to get the wrong idea and question why there was a photographer at such an event. With raw emotions, things can get heated quickly...

The closest family (ie her mother and sisters) was aware of this, as they wanted me to take the pictures.

Whatever idea someone else _chooses_ to have is of no concern to me.

Nor should it be of any concern to anyone else. Just because someone wants to get their panties twisted doesn't mean anyone else should necessarily care.
 
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esselle

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I shot a funeral once. I was going to the funeral with a friend, and the family wanted me to take pictures.

I felt really awkward and out of place, but reminded my self that this is what they wanted.

I think ultimately, that is the key.... you have to take your own feelings out of the situation and then focus on what is going on around you and deciding what you want to do about it, artistically.

May I ask, did you take photos throughout the service or after? Just curious. That was nice of you to do at the last minute like that.
 

horseracingfreak

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while funerals obviously happen everyday, no two are alike. and thus they cant be treated all the same as far as whats right or wrong.awhile back, i hadda cousin die unexpectedly..only 27. his mother asked me if i would take pictures for her..which i agreed to do. she wasnt so much interested in who was there and seeing them in pictures as she was the flowers and such. what ended up happening is she had me sit in the balcony of the funeral home and i videotaped the service for her, but BEFORE the services, i arrived before everyone else and took still pictures of the flowers and other items that had been placed near the casket(open). not knowing if she wanted pictures of his body, i did take some inside the casket. all this was much more comfortable for me since no one else was present. after the services, i put the video on a cd and all the pictures on a separate cd. i told her there were pictures of him on the cd but that i had put them in a separate folder just incase she didnt want to see that. that way she didnt stumble onto them later. she was happy to get it all but said she had no idea when, or if she would ever watch the video or look at the pictures but felt good knowing she had it if she wanted to. i guess its all in what the family wants. some people see the funeral as the last time they'll see there loved one..even if they are deceased and so they want the memory..others feel like there loved one isnt really there and dont want that image in there head so, it can be sticky..good luck
 

nycphotography

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I shot a funeral once. I was going to the funeral with a friend, and the family wanted me to take pictures.

I felt really awkward and out of place, but reminded my self that this is what they wanted.

I think ultimately, that is the key.... you have to take your own feelings out of the situation and then focus on what is going on around you and deciding what you want to do about it, artistically.

May I ask, did you take photos throughout the service or after? Just curious. That was nice of you to do at the last minute like that.

Because I was with the family all day, I shot from breakfast, to them gathering, to the service, to the burial, and to the get together / picnic / bbq afterwards.

Some of the pictures ended up being printed and framed... one of the 6 surviving sisters carrying the casket in particular, and I think another of them dropping roses on the casket.

If I recall, that night they had me getting out studio lights for family portraits (back at the house) as family still wandered in and out.
 
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esselle

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I don't know you but I highly respect what you did here. Wow! I appreciate you sharing.
I shot a funeral once. I was going to the funeral with a friend, and the family wanted me to take pictures.

I felt really awkward and out of place, but reminded my self that this is what they wanted.

I think ultimately, that is the key.... you have to take your own feelings out of the situation and then focus on what is going on around you and deciding what you want to do about it, artistically.

May I ask, did you take photos throughout the service or after? Just curious. That was nice of you to do at the last minute like that.

Because I was with the family all day, I shot from breakfast, to them gathering, to the service, to the burial, and to the get together / picnic / bbq afterwards.

Some of the pictures ended up being printed and framed... one of the 6 surviving sisters carrying the casket in particular, and I think another of them dropping roses on the casket.

If I recall, that night they had me getting out studio lights for family portraits (back at the house) as family still wandered in and out.
 

rlemert

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What a moving post. A celebration of life. Seriously, I'm sitting here thinking about that. So, did you take any photos of that event?

My words at the service included somthing like the following:

"We are here to mourn his passing, and it is fitting that we do so because he will be missed. But I prefer not to regret that he is gone, but to celebrate the fact that he was here. One measure of a person is the degree to which he has impacted the lives of others, and by that measure dad can be considered 'a great man'. Your presence here today is testament to that."

And no, I didn't get any pictures. I'm one of those who had to travel (from the east coast to the west), and it didn't even occur to me to take my camera. Thinking about it now in regards to your original question, I kind of regret it. Some of the people there - people I know and love, the next time I'll see them is probably going to be at their funeral.
 

Basil5278

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I was photographing the kids at their first communion in a small village near home a few years ago. The day before a local man was buried in the church graveyard - 34 years old, motorbike accident.
His wife, 2 children and their grandparents were at the graveside and something moved me to take a couple of quiet shots of the family.
They were acquaintances and I chose 1 shot, had it printed and framed and a week later called at the house and gave it to the widow. It's been in pride-of-place in their living room ever since.
Why?
Well, it was their last goodbye. It didn't remind them so much of death or the empty space left behind; it reminded them of what a great dad he was and of the love and happiness he gave them. (I know this because they told me.)

I don't think it's morbid to take photos at a funeral, provided you're discreet and it's what the family want (not just one person).

If you do it, do it for them, no matter what your feelings about funerals, but if you have any doubts, then graciously decline-dignity intact!
 

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