Beyond the Dark Veil is a handsome new volume exploring a fascinating, now seemingly macabre death practice.
During the Victorian era, with the popular spread of photography, and before the emergence of a funeral industry, the practice of home post-mortem photography had its heyday. It was common to have your deceased loved ones photographed, not only while lying in state, but sitting in chairs, standing up (with the aid of special corpse stands), even posing with living members of the family. It was as though, given the advent of the photograph, people felt as though they could keep their loved ones alive longer by taking pictures of them. And those pictures weren’t hidden away, to be privately wept over in melancholy remembrance, but prominently displayed in the most public areas of the home.
This is a gorgeously-produced hardbound book with an embossed, gold-foiled black leather cover and golden-edged pages. Photography comprises the bulk of the content here, but there are also essays from Jack Mord (owner of the Archive), author and death researcher Bess Lovejoy, artist Marion Peck, poet Joanna Roche, historian of photography Joe Smoke, and others.
The book contains 194 images, which include deathbed post-mortem photos, photos of dead children and families, adults, crime and tragedy post-mortems, and even photos of dead pets. The book also serves as a fascinating survey of late 19th century imaging technologies, with hand-colored photographs, albumen prints, ambrotypes, cabinet cards, carte de viste, daguerreotypes, gelatin silver prints, opaltypes, photo postcards, stereoviews, and tintypes, all from the extensive collection of The Thantos Archive.
Peppered throughout are also newspaper clippings, ads for funeral products, images of caskets, hearses, funeral trains, and other tools and ephemera of Victorian death and mourning. There is even a brief glossary of 19th century photography terms.
See gallery of Post Mortem and Mourning Photography at Wink
The first mind-blowing episode of Twin Peaks aired in 1990. On May 21 this year, Showtime will debut a two-hour episode of the revival series, produced by creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, and starring the original crew. In this video, Kyle MacLachlan, Sherilyn Fenn, Peggy Lipton, Everett McGill, and Wendy Robie talk about what […]
I wrote about the terrific Plugable USB Handheld Digital Microscope in 2015. It’s on sale for $29.70 right now. I had the earlier version of the Plugable USB Handheld Digital Microscope and liked it a lot. The second version just came out and I love it. Smaller than a prescription pill bottle, the microscope has […]
Call it The Landmaid’s Tale: two girls were barred from boarding a flight by a United Airlines agent Sunday, and the airline confirmed that leggings are against a dress policy it applies to people traveling on passes issued to employees and their dependents. A United Airlines gate agent barred two girls from boarding a flight […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]
Custom coffee vessels are the perfect piece of office flair, but it’s just a matter of time before your VOTE FOR PEDRO mug will start to lose its relevant wit. Why not have a new one every day, with whatever silly nonsense you want sticking off the sides? You can save big on your novelty […]