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.

notanyanymore Sat 06-Jul-13 23:06:24

Sounds like a strange idea to me

LynetteScavo Sat 06-Jul-13 23:09:14

I think it's becoming more usual.

I wouldn't do it. I'm guessing it's a cultural thing. I remember when I was little my friend showing me photo's of her Polish grandfather in his casket.

Sirzy Sat 06-Jul-13 23:11:55

I wish someone had taken photos of the flowers at my grandads funeral. You don't think at the time to look.

I think taking photos of the service itself is a bit strange but each to their own.

BackforGood Sat 06-Jul-13 23:14:09

I think that's very strange.

I have been to one service (which was actually after the cremation when the family invited everyone to the Church for a service to celebrate his life) when they videoed the service for his dd who now lives on the other side of the world and couldn't get home. Other than that, it seems an odd thing to do.

antimatter Sat 06-Jul-13 23:15:42

I was taking photos and video at a funeral few months ago. I wasn't family or a friend of the girl who was buried ...
Her mum was unable to come to her daughter's funeral as she broke her pelvis a day before she was due to fly for that funeral. Doctors didn't let her to fly for the next 3 months and funeral went ahead.
I found doing it strange at first but later on saw how important were those photos and my video for my friend.
Her daughter in-laws recorded DVD for my friend but it took few days before it got edited whilst I was able to send photos straight away and video soon after.
I am not sure if this was similar scenario. But I think for those not present at the funeral it may be a way to say good bye.

vintagecakeisstillnice Sat 06-Jul-13 23:18:22

I've always seen this as normal.

For a lot of cultures this is normal, particularly Afro-Carribian where those at 'home' may not have seen the deceased fo years.

My mum took photos at both her mum & dad's funerals. I guess I did think it was a bit odd, but her mum parents had just died, so as far as I was concerned she could do whatever the fuck she liked.

I've got a photo of my Gran in the funeral home. Am sure people would think that odd. Just wanted one more photo of her I guess. Occasionally come across it & it always makes me jump!

AgentZigzag Sat 06-Jul-13 23:32:35

I thought it was a bit odd too, usually photos are of times you want to remember but funerals wouldn't really fit into that.

I'd not thought of the other people who can't attend before though, I think you can get live webcams for funerals now, which is a similar thing and nice for people who can't make it to pay their respects.

Jan49 Sat 06-Jul-13 23:34:56

I think people should do it if they want to, but as the person taking the photos and video wasn't a relative they should have asked.

At my grandmother's funeral, an elderly friend photographed all the flowers, as she thought I'd like that, and sent the photos to me. I was a bit taken back and didn't really want the photos but I can understand that some people do.

Slavetothechild Sat 06-Jul-13 23:35:04

No idea if its common place, but my fil has a collection of photos . They are all of dead relatives !!!! Weird and odd to me and my dh , lets just hope we dont bloody inherit them !

microcosmia Sat 06-Jul-13 23:40:58

Sorry maybe I wasn't clear in the op I have no problem with the family taking photos or having someone else do it if that it what they wish. I can see how in some of the circumstances described above it would be a lovely thing to do. It's just that our family didn't ask for it or want it and now the photos of them grieving at the grave were taken without anyone's prior knowledge and are now in circulation.

AgentZigzag Sat 06-Jul-13 23:43:20

If it's not too grisly a question Slave, what kind of age photos has your FIL got? (I'm thinking the post-mortem photos in The Others)

If they were old that'd be interesting to have in your family, but more contemporary and I'd probably feel the same as you - not sure why though, maybe because they'd be people I'd known.

AgentZigzag Sat 06-Jul-13 23:46:08

'our family didn't ask for it or want it and now the photos of them grieving at the grave were taken without anyone's prior knowledge and are now in circulation.'

That's totally out of order, it's such a vulnerable time for people, I can imagine I would be wondering where the pictures would end up.

WandaDoff Sat 06-Jul-13 23:46:25

I wish more photos had been taken at my Dad's funeral.

We got a few of the children in their smart clothes, I wish somebody had thought to take a few more as that was the 1st time in years that the whole family was in one place at the same time.

WandaDoff Sat 06-Jul-13 23:51:47

Saying that I wouldn't have wanted graveside pictures hmm

That is a private time IMO

TheBuskersDog Sat 06-Jul-13 23:58:26

I think it's a weird idea. The first funeral I went to was my dad's in 1980 when I was 12, I still have very clear memories of some bits of it but not everything. I really cannot imagine when i would feel like sitting down to browse through photos of his funeral and certainly do not wish we had photos to remind us of the day.

AgentZigzag Sat 06-Jul-13 23:58:36

I suppose that's the other thing as well Wanda, that funeral's aren't necessarily a sad/traumatic time (not suggesting your Dad's wasn't), and more about celebrating the life and spending time with your family.

And those positive emotions can eclipse the distressing side a bit.

Was the person taking the pictures quite young? For some people, every second of their lives has to be documented and shared on Facebook or it didn't really happen, and it doesn't occur to such people that not everyone feels the same way.

ChippingInGoAndyGo Sun 07-Jul-13 00:04:02

We have photos of various family funerals, photos of the flowers, photos of groups of people there. On the day it can be overwhelming and you don't really take in who is there etc and it can be nice to see who did come etc BUT IMO it is not on to take photos if you aren't immediate family and certainly not of the service or people grieving (I wouldn't mind if someone else took photos of friends or whatever at the bit after - sometimes it's the first time those friends have seen each other in years and may not do so again).

NoComet Sun 07-Jul-13 00:13:42

DF showed us a photo of his wife's coffin in the beautiful place she is buried.

She died of cancer in a matter of weeks and he had so so many plans for their retirement. I think showing people the photo made the totally unbelievable slightly more real.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sun 07-Jul-13 17:06:57

when I was at school one of friends older brothers died in a car accident on valentines day, she showed me pictures of his cards, his bed that he slept in the night before, the coffin and family at the funeral. I thought that was odd as no one seemed to do it back then (pre fakebook) I guess it gave him comfort. recently I went to see a friend whose DH had just been to the funeral of a guy we used to know she showed me pics mainly because I wasn't there and lots of the guys I used to know were there, nothing too wierd really but another friend had sent them a large print of a crowd at the graveside blown up onto a canvas print and framed... she was shock why would she want that? it went in an upstairs cupboard.

squoosh Sun 07-Jul-13 17:24:27

It is a bit strange and it would never occur to me to take photos at a funeral. It is interesting though how they are the one major societal milestone that goes largely unrecorded. I mean I know why, photos are usually taken at happy occasions, but still, in terms of social history our knowledge of funerals is generally anecdotal rather than evidence based.

I have seen people take photos of the flowers afterwards, to show to people who were unable to make it to the funeral for health / geographic reasons.

Theas18 Sun 07-Jul-13 17:34:04

Why not take photos at a funeral?

I have done at family funerals where I've been a "peripheral relative" eg DH grandma- the close family were way to busy to do so. To be able o look back and see who was there etc is a good thing (especially as it might be the last time some of the people are there- the whole cohort is obviously getting older together..)

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.

LynetteScavo Mon 08-Jul-13 18:45:31

Actually, I would be bloody furious if photo's of me were taken while I was grieving by someone I didn't know well - and were then put on the internet. angry

saulaboutme Mon 08-Jul-13 23:43:06

I've seen this at a West Indian funeral and was so shocked as the deceased had committed suicide and had had a very thorough post mortem.
My friend explained the family do this and it's their way of remembering their dead.

At dhs grannys funeral some if the family videod and took pictures but only of flowers really.
I wouldn't like it but as long as the service isn't pictured I wouldn't mind.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 08-Jul-13 23:59:54

I have quite a few photos of my grandad and his family all looking very smart in their best suits (guessing taken in the 1920/30's) taken at funerals I think it was the norm

lisianthus Tue 09-Jul-13 03:23:32

In your case, OP, I would be consulting solicitors and seeking to have the pictures removed and a written apology. To use the photos of your grieving family as a business advertisement on FB is beyond offensive.

thatisall Tue 09-Jul-13 20:46:27

We had this at a family funeral a couple of years ago. It was the relatives of the deceased persons secret lover :-o

I thought it was very weird indeed.

I've seen it happen at balloon releases at a child's funeral and that didn't seem odd at all

thatisall Tue 09-Jul-13 20:49:34

I just searched Solid Gold Brass on facebook and all that comes up is a band :-/

WandaDoff Tue 09-Jul-13 21:17:45

I think the OP was referring to SolidGoldBrass the MN poster up there ^ smile

Yes, she was addressing me rather than naming me as the rude photographer. I have never taken photographs at anyone's funeral (I think I did once take a pic of flowers to show someone who couldn't be there) and certainly haven';t put them on a website. I promise... <scared>.

microcosmia Tue 09-Jul-13 22:32:23

I can confirm SolidGoldBrass is entirely innocent! I reread my earlier post and it could be ambiguous but yes I was replying to SGB.

Just to update on the funeral pictures on FB we've discovered this is not the first time this person has done this! We made some enquiries and learned that the same thing happened to another family. They complained after it was brought to their attention. They felt it was connected to the person's involvement in local politics confused I hope it's not. It's not cultural, we are in Ireland where this would be unusual for here. The person has been contacted via their site and asked to take down the photos.

ChippingInGoAndyGo Tue 09-Jul-13 22:47:01

micro - It sounds very weird - they need telling!! Why on earth would they want funeral photos for their engineering website - sounds mad?!

BrilliantWhite - did you even bother reading the thread? I would hope you haven't, as posting something so insensitve if you had, would be pretty shit.

SauvignonBlanc - personally, I think people are far more important than supposed 'etiquette'.

thatisall Wed 10-Jul-13 01:15:41

Very good very good, I shall stand at ease then casually hides plans to besmudge their name

TraceyTrickster Wed 10-Jul-13 01:27:43

My Anglo Saxon FIL died and was a widower. His late wife was SE Asian...all the SE Asian contingent started snapping pics as the crematorium curtains opened. We were open mouthed having never seen it before but H has lived all over the place and said it was not unusual

It's not that it's wrong to take pics as a personal memento, particularly as that seems to be fairly common to several cultures. It's the fact that this individual was doing it for some sort of crappy self-promotion - ie 'look how popular and involved in the community I am.' What a total knob.

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