Any photograph – is a photograph “in memory”. About person, place, event… The man grow up, drove away or died, the event was held out. Even the repeating events like New Year will never be the same as it was captured in photography. “In memory”, “in commemoration” – the very words written on backside of pictures, given to owner of an album as a keep sake. By the way it has reasons, formerly they made special fastenings to not glue in but to put in and out photos and it made possible to see the notes on the back . So the visual and text messages came together.
These photos are the visual reading of common historical, family’s, kin’s, local… knowledge. It is not just for the captured on the picture. It is a usual family tradition to view and comment photos (in the event of family holidays when the relatives come together) and these stories could be passed on across the generations… When the man connected with the depicted world looks on the photo his memory is activated and contexts absentee in picture come out. When the bearers of these memories passed away -the successors will have only the pictures.
A massive part of photos, held in family albums are devoted to last parting with members of the family and kin. One’s archives have up to 20% of all photos – funeral pictures. At the open coffin, during it’s transportation to the graveyard, at the grave, during funeral repast… According to our expedition’s experience the most of these photos came from 1950-1970th years, it was in a sense peak of a genre. We think that widespread of funeral photography is typical for countryside, small provincial towns, in the big cities for country-men by origin.
The forerunner of funeral photo was a tradition of posthumous painting. Portraits in coffin were made firstly well-known persons (outstanding statesmen, artists, scientists etc.) but on some evidences merchants in small towns could order such pictures from local painters. Arising photography and later cinematography took these functions over painting. Outstanding person’s funerals are shot on photo and cinema film, from 1910th year the cinema films were demonstrated as a chronic in movie theatres.
Funeral pictures technologies
With the advent of mass and available technologies (firstly photo cameras) in the middle of the 1950th years amateur photography appeared. Seemingly the man with camera has unlimited abilities for fixing casual life. But according to our observations the first situations worth picturing prove to be ritual: family meals, weddings. Funeral photos are the most frequent in this row. The number of these ritual cases that should be captured gradually increases; appears the New Year genre photo, widespread pictures with the first bicycles, motorbikes, automobiles.