About people taking photographs at funerals

(63 Posts)
microcosmia Sat 06-Jul-13 23:05:16

I was a bit taken aback recently at a family funeral when a person who was not a relative of the deceased produced a camera and took shots and a video clip at the burial. No one else was doing this and I am certain this person did not have (or seek) permission from the family to do this. Is this normal practice now? (in which case I may be overreacting). I can imagine some families might not have a difficulty with it but in the case of mine it was seen as not being the done thing.

I'm not quite sure whether the OP means that the person taking photographs was a friend of the deceased (in which case, OP, that person has as much of a right to manage his/her grief in a way that feels comfortable as anyone else does: family don't always trump friends.) or that this was some 'professional' photographer touting for business or even someone trying to get 'stock shots of mourners at a funeral' for his/her portfolio, which would be pretty grim.

McNewPants2013 Sun 07-Jul-13 18:01:46

It really depends who took the picture.

Some of my friends are more close to me than family.

There was loads of pictures from my Nan funeral because we are spread across the uk and it was a good opportunity to get some family photos together

We have pictures of the lovely flowers from my grandfather's funeral because the sheer amount of them was touching, and a picture of the whole family at the wake since they never got together often. It's a sombre picture, everyone has a stiff drink in hand and arms around eachother. Nobody took pictures of the service! It does seem strange to do that.

UterusUterusGhali Sun 07-Jul-13 18:25:05

Recently at a close family members funeral my mum, nana & various others all whipped out cameras.

I found it odd tbh, but i guess that's what my family do.
:-/

microcosmia Sun 07-Jul-13 19:15:28

It's interesting the range of responses on this. I agree there is a role for recording funerals but this experience left me feeling people should have been asked first before their grief was intruded upon. The family are not comfortable with it as it is but don't know what to do. They feel a boundary was crossed because it was done without their knowledge.SolidGoldBrass the person who took the photos is middle aged and has since put them on the FB page of a business website (not photography or funeral related).They shouldn't be there in my opinion I can't imagine customers being interested in what funerals this person attends.

FriskyHenderson Sun 07-Jul-13 19:20:39

I've been at a funeral where photos were taken including during the service, but the deceased had very young children who although there, were not going to remember when they grew up and it had been advised that photos/video were taken so that the children had the choice to see it when they were grown up.

itsblackoveryonderhill Sun 07-Jul-13 19:25:21

I think it's a cultural thing. When DH dad passed away, members of his family took pictures to send 'back home'. We were all a bit shocked, even DH and his siblings because they were raised British, not the culture of either parent.

Sunhasgothishaton Sun 07-Jul-13 19:26:08

I recently went to the funeral of my friend's parent. They specifically asked me to take photos for them, as they said in their grief they wouldn't be able to "see" it at the time.

Of course I did take the photos, but have to say I felt awkward doing so.

brilliantwhite Sun 07-Jul-13 19:29:33

i find it very weird ,its not like anyone would feel like smiling and saying cheese ,doubt anyone will look back on these pictures with a smile, bad taste i think .

microcosmia Sun 07-Jul-13 19:29:53

Interesting range of response to this. I guess for me the issue is now more about the presumption this person made that we'd all be OK with this.I don't know if everyone would have been happy at the idea but they might not have objected.As it stands these pictures are now on the FB page of this persons business which has nothing to do with the family nor is it even photography or funeral related.The family feel they should have been asked before their grief was intruded on and that this person has crossed a line putting these on the net. I can't imagine their customers would be remotely interested in what funerals this person attends.

phantomnamechanger Sun 07-Jul-13 19:37:19

eh? what sort of business do they run, that they would want coverage of a funeral on it, if it is not a funeral or video/photo business?? THAT is odd.

cameras/DVDs for all the reasons given above are more and more common and acceptable - we do it because we CAN - but I do feel family ought to be asked/consulted.

microcosmia Sun 07-Jul-13 19:37:22

Sorry if I double posted but after posting earlier message the most recent posts vanished and I can't see them now-

squoosh Sun 07-Jul-13 19:41:03

Very weird that they're using funeral photos on their facebook page.

I was googling funeral etiquette today as I was surprised at a funeral yesterday how many people seemed not to know that the family should be the last into the church and other mourners should take their seats.

I came across this in Debretts, cameras should never be brought to funerals. This is a rite of passage that transcends recording. Taking pictures will be seen as intrusive and will cause heartfelt offence.

I had thought that my DSis might like me to take a picture as it's hard to remember things when you're feeling numb but I didn't in the end. It wouldn't have felt right.

JakeBullet Sun 07-Jul-13 19:50:34

It actually is not a new thing...google Victorian mortuary phots to see what I mean. It was the done thing to have a post mortem photo taken of a loved one. Sadly they are usually babies and children but they are posed as if alive and sometimes the photo was taken with the living brothers and sisters too.

microcosmia Sun 07-Jul-13 19:52:57

Ok that little glitch is sorted no idea what it was! SolidGoldBrass the person is not a close friend of the deceased. They would have met only about 4 times but a relative of the deceased used to work with this person before they set up their own business but that was 30 years ago and they are no longer in contact either. The business is a light engineering company.

DrSeuss Sun 07-Jul-13 19:54:14

A Czech friend took pictures of all the guests at the reception following my dad's funeral. She said this was usual in her country. She then sent us copies. I suppose the idea was to provide a record of those present when we weren't in a state to take note.

perplexedpirate Sun 07-Jul-13 19:56:17

I wish I had photos of my nan's funeral. I can't remember it too well but I know we gave her a beautiful send off. It would be nice to look back on and know we did our best for her, iykwim.

edam Sun 07-Jul-13 19:57:29

That's very strange indeed. Taking pictures of the funeral without permission of the family is decidedly Not On and then sticking them on Facebook is extremely ill-mannered. What a cheek!

Are you thinking of contacting the business and asking them to take them down? I would.

Paintingrainbowskies Sun 07-Jul-13 20:09:37

We asked BIL to take photos at my daughters funeral, i knew we would be in no position to remember anything and its nice to know I can look at the pictures if I want/need to and talk about them with my other children.

However, he was the only person who took some photos and I would have been very angry if someone took photos without my say so. So I think YANBU to think this person should not have taken pictures.

PolkadotRosa Sun 07-Jul-13 20:12:12

My MiL did this at two family funerals and DH and I were cringing. She wasn't discrete (that's not her style!) and was herding people together for shots like we were at a wedding, going around the tables in the hall after the funeral and catching people to pose by the door as they left. It was obvious some people were really uncomfortable with it. Who wants a photo taking when they've been crying?! It was awful. I personally don't think it's appropriate, but each to their own!

vintagecakeisstillnice Sun 07-Jul-13 20:15:13

Oh sorry I didn't realise it was a member of family etc.
No this was very off.

Normal etc if done with the families request/ permission, otherwise very unreasonable.

AmberLeaf Sun 07-Jul-13 20:17:23

Very normal in some cultures. Other cultures have very different ways of dealing with death to Brits.

Ive seen quite a few albums of funerals, which included shots of the deceased in an open coffin!

Have been to funerals where photos/video was taken.

The pics/video get sent home or to relatives around the world unable to attend the funeral.

I can see why you are upset in this instance though and I think if asked, that person should remove the pics from facebook.

Theas18 Sun 07-Jul-13 23:12:35

I don't understand the " wouldn't want to be seen smiling an saying cheese" feelings... of course if it is a tragic young death everyone is just holding things together, but at DH grands funeral it was a " reet good send off" a celebration of a life well lived and the start of ( as the lay had a strong faith) the " next great adventure" - to use my favorite Dumbledore quote.

OK, I can really see why you are upset in this case - the person was a business contact who appears to be using the photos taken for some sort of promotional work. That's extremely crass and rude.

The only possible justification I can think of is that the person is from a culture where this sort of thing is done - as some other posters have mentioned, different cultures have different attitudes towards death and mourning, and if it's the 'done thing' for this individual to record and display funerals as some way of honoring the dead, no harm may have been intended - but it would seem perfectly reasonable for someone in the family to get in touch and ask, politely, that the photographs be taken off the business website.

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