Memento Mori and Mourning Portraits

Michael J Berkowitz/ Fine Art Portraits

Recently, I’ve been exploring some themes inspired by Victorian photographic practices, in particular Momento Mori and Mourning portraits. Momento Mori were portraits taken of the recently deceased, as a last image to remember the loved one by. Families would dress the corpse up in their best, make them up, fix their hair and photograph them as if they were asleep. This practice has quite a bit of resonance for me as the first girl I loved in my teens committed suicide and I vividly recall going to the funeral and gazing at her in the open casket, wearing her favorite dress, her beautiful red hair brushed and fanned out on the satin pillow.

I have made several attempts so far of my interpretation of Momento Mori. Again, I have paired images. The first is a clothed and more proper portrait, one to be shared with everyone. The second more intimate…

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  1. Michael, these are lovely. Did you intentionally use the word Momento rather than Memento?


    Sent from my iPhone


    1. I can’t believe I got that wrong. I first started looking at Memento Mori photos on Pinterest and most people spell it wrong and I never noticed. I will correct that, thanks.

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