Tuesday, 29 December 2009

French Photograph Album

I got a Victorian Photo Album for christmas, it's from France and belonged to Mr and Mrs Marcel Breton, its a wonderful album, full of great pictures of children and a fantastic postmortem photograph of what i would guess is one of the couples daughters, i think some of the other pictures are of her during her life, but its hard to tell, as the postmortem isn't a clear face shot, i think the chubby dark haired girl may be the one who died.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009


I've been thinking about twins alot lately (not just cause of jedward) but i love them, if you really think about it, its amazing how one person can be duplicated, how can they be the same, it kinda freaks me out abit. I wonder if i was a twin i would feel like half a person, i feel that identical twins can probably not be without each other, do they feel like one thing? I wonder how often they seperate and become really different and live different lives, i want to interveiw some twins right now, these are some pretty amazing twin pictures

Diane Arbus

the shining

JonBenet Ramsey

The first images of JonBenet Ramsey that were broadcast to the world showed a pretty little girl in heavy make-up and flamboyant costumes parading across a stage. At the time, the media described her as "a painted baby, a sexualized toddler beauty queen."

From the day in 1996 when JonBenet was found dead in the basement of her home in Boulder, Colorado, the Boulder police and a large proportion of the world's media believed that her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, were responsible for her death.

Prior to the murder of their daughter, John and Patsy Ramsey's life seemed almost ideal. Patsy, a former beauty queen, was married to a successful businessman. They had moved to Boulder where John ran a computer company that he had started in his garage, in 1991. The Ramseys readily adapted to their new life in Colorado and made many new friends. They built a large house in an elite suburb, and entertained often. Their last party in Boulder, just three days before the murder, was particularly happy. Over a hundred guests were present at a Christmas function. The Ramseys believed that they had good reason to celebrate. Patsy had warded off a recurrance of ovarian cancer and John had been voted Boulder's "businessman of the year."

According to the Ramseys' testimony, they drove home the few blocks from a party at a friend's house on Christmas night. JonBenet had fallen asleep in the car so they carried her up the stairs to her room and put her to bed at 9:30 p.m. Shortly after, Patsy and John went to bed, as they planned to get up early to prepare for a trip to their holiday home on Lake Michigan.

The next day, Patsy woke just after 5:00 a.m. and walked down the stairs to the kitchen. On the staircase, she found a two-and-a-half page note that said that JonBenet had been kidnapped by a "small foreign faction" and was being held for a ransom of $118,000. She was to be exchanged for the money the next day. The letter warned that if the money was not delivered, the child would be executed. Patsy yelled to John as she ran back up the stairs and opened the door to JonBenet's room. Finding she wasn't there, they made the decision to phone the police. The 911 dispatcher recorded Patsy's call at 5:25 a.m. The police arrived at the house seven minutes later.

The uniformed police officers that attended were openly suspicious from The Start. The Ramseys, treating the ransom demand seriously, were already taking steps to raise the ransom money. The note said that the kidnappers would call John Ramsey but no call came.
It was while the police were waiting for the call that they made several critical mistakes. They did not conduct a proper search of the house, the area was not sealed off and friends were allowed to walk in and out at their leisure. No moves were made to protect any forensic evidence. The scale of their mistakes became apparent later that afternoon when a detective asked Fleet White, a friend of the Ramseys, to take John and search the house for "anything unusual." They started in the basement. Later, during the documentary Who Killed JonBenet?, made by Channel Four in London, John Ramsey describes what they found:

"As I was walking through the basement, I opened the door to a room and knew immediately that I'd found her because there was a white blanket — her eyes were closed, I feared the worse but yet — I'd found her."

- tru tv crime library

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Easter Bunny

possibly the most disturbing Easter Bunny i've ever seen, can't believe anyone would let their child see this, i know i wouldn't
I don't know where this was taken, weather it was in a house, with a parent as the bunny, or actually in a shop or something like a santas grotto, still pretty bad whichever one.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Secure the Shadow, Ere the substance fade

I found this amazing picture. I love the houses and graves in the background, and the whole composition, i've found afew outdoor and graveside pictures recently.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Postmortem Nun

A particularly striking postmortem image of a Nun from Palermo, sicily, not sure why there are so many rings surrounding her, but i love the lace, its a beautiful presentation of her

Young girl with Leprosy

Young girl with Leprosy, by Dr. A. de Montmeja, a Parisian ophthalmologist and pioneering medical photographer. France, ca. 1868. - Thanatos.net

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Petty Officer John Shaw Torrington (1825 — 1 January 1846) was an explorer and Royal Navy stoker. He was part of an expedition to find the Northwest Passage, but along with the rest of the crew, including the leader, Sir John Franklin, mysteriously died early in the trip. His body was exhumed in 1984, to try to determine the cause of death. It was the best preserved example of a corpse since the Tollund Man in the 1950s.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Unusal Memorial picture

I really like this memorial picture from 'secure the shadow' it shows the family gathered around the grave site of their deceased family member, i particularly like the poses of the two young girls in white, very religious and angelic and quite unusual for this type of photograph, i think it has an amazing atmosphere about it

Taxidermy child

I found something wonderful in Herefords antique street market, its such a beautiful fabric doll, presented in a box kind of like vintage taxidermy, with feathers and fabric backgrounds and a stool for her to sit on, she was made by the sellers grandfather, who made loads of them and the seller inherited them when he died and has been selling them, this one was the most beauiful on the stall, the others were smaller and used paper cutouts! Very 'folk art' shes hard to photograph, with the glass front! But heres my attempts, so happy with her

and with flash, crappy, but shows more detail

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Research Photographs

Harold Ray Featherstone. son of C.R. and L.G. Griffin Featherstone, 1917 - 1919, buried west Union st Cemetery, Athens, Ohio. Found behind the original photograph was the original obituary -
Harold Raymond Featherstone, son of Clyde R. and Leah Griffin Featherstone was born, February 9, 1917 at stewart, Ohio and Died September 16, 1919 at Athens, Ohio. His age was two years, seven months and seven days. As a very young child he had been ill a great deal, but he had completely recovered from his earlier troubles and become quite robust and healthy.

Late on Tuesday afternoon he was accidently drowned by falling into a cistern which had been left partly uncovered unbeknown to his parents.

Although his body was in the water only a short time it was impossible to revive him. It was a terrible shock and irreparable loss to his parents, as he was an only child and will be therefore all the more greatly missed.

He was an attractive little fellow, full of life and energy. He was known by many outside his own family circle and loved by all who knew him. He was a very affectionate, loving little boy and easily won a place in the hearts of all who saw him.

Said Samuel Rogers in one of his writings, "pointing to such, well might Cornelia say. When the rich casket shone in bright array. These are my jewels, well of such as he. When Jesus spake, well might his be, Suffer these little ones o come to me"

We wish to express our sincerest thanks to our many friends for their kindness shown to us during our sad bereavement in the loss of our darling little boy, also the friends who send beautiful floral offerings, Rev. Strecker for his kind words, and mr and mrs Warlburn for their services.
Mr and Mrs C.R. Featherstone

"Another little angel. Before the heavenly throne." Blackstone collection

"suffer little children to come unto me" S.L. Davis collection

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


this is one of the best pictures i've taken, it doens't look great or anything, but it was just so exciting to find! I was walking round highgate cemetary and i stuck my camera in a hole by the path and took a picture, this is what came out -

The grave is a family tomb of many generations, the small coffin you can see on the right is a two year old girl, along side the larger coffin of her grandfather or greatgrandfather, can't remember exactly and the ashes of the other family members in the small boxes

Monday, 7 December 2009

Nice things

I thought people might like to see afew more bits and pieces from my collections, here is one of my favourite cabinet cards, i bought earlier this year, i just adore the childs expression and face and the fur shes sitting on, beautiful

This is my postmortem nun pendant i bought last year and one of my collection of old family photos

one of my favourites from my collection, bought years ago, from an old photo album i got, she was the highlight, with the beautiful little frame around her, i placed the picture on a page from our family bible for this photograph

and finally a picture of my great grandparents

First Communion

I have become obsessed with vintage photo of children having their first communion, i've spend so much on them recently, but they're just so beautiful, i can't get enough, theres something amazing about a child dressed in white lace and a veil

Sunday, 6 December 2009

postmortem photography accounts

just read some really interesting accounts of postmortem photography from photographers working in the 1800s in America.
These two accounts are very different, but equally as interesting -
"When i began to take pictures, twenty or thirty years ago, i had to make pictures of the dead. We had to go out then more than we do now, and this is a matter that is not easy to manage; but if you work carefully over the various difficulties you will learn very soon how to take pictures of dead bodies, arranging them just as you please. When you have done that the way is clear, and your task easy. The way i did it was just to have them dressed and laid on the sofa. Just lay them down asif they were in a sleep. That was my first effort. It was with a little boy, a dozen years old. It took a great while to get them to let me do it, still they did let me do it. I will say at this point, because it is a very important one, that you may do just as you please so far as the handling and bending of corpses is concerned. You can bend them till the joints are pliable, and make them assume a natrual and easy position. If a person has died, and the friends are afraid that there will be a liquid ejected from the mouth, you can carefully turn them over just as though they were under the operation of an emetic. You can do that in less than one single minute, and every single thing will pass out, and you can wipe the mouth and wash off the face, and handle them just as though they were well persons. Arrange them in this position, or bend them into this position. Then place your camera and take your pictures just as they would look in life, as if standing up before you. You don't go down to the foot of the sofa and shoot up this way. Go up on the side of the head and take the picture so that part of the picture that comes off from you will come off above the horizontal line. So it would be as if in a natural position, as if standing or sitting before you. There is another thing which will be useful to you in carrying out your operation, and that is a french style mirror about four feet and not very wide. This will suit some cameras, arranging the mirror so the reflection of the party will be thrown upon it in an easy, gracefull, natrual way, and then take your pictures from the mirror without much trouble. I make these remarks because i think that they may be very valuable to somebody."
(Josiah Southworth, of Southworth and hawes in 1873)

"The sun rose gloomily, no bright birds with their sweet music appeared to herald in the day, no aqua fontana sparkled in in the sun beams, for a bleak north-west wind, and dark fleeting clouds gave token of a wintry approach. and oh! how sad was the face of the first customer who saluted me on entering the Gallery.
Her pale lips, though motionless, spoke despair, her dark sunken eyes told of intense suffering, and her black tresses raggedly gathered over her broad white temples indicating the agitation of her mind. Her garments coarse, but neat, loosely encircling her well shaped frame. When she spoke, her tremulous, anxious voice sent a thrill like an electric shock through me. In wild accents she addressed me.
"Oh! sir, my child Armenia is dead, and i have no likeness of her, won't you come immediately and take her picture."
The number and place were taken and in a few minutes I was at her door. The house was an old, dilapidated frame building on Elm street. I gently knocked at the door and it soon opened.
"Does Mrs G_____, live here?" I asked.
"No Sir; down in the Basement."
Into a deep cellar basement i descended, the door was partly open, I walked in and what a mournful scene entered my gaze; the dying embers in the grate gave more light than the heavenly rays which entered through the low windows. On a scantily furnished couch lay the victim of the foul destroyer, marble-like and cold, the mother, on her knees beside the bed leaned over her darling, her only child, with her face buried in her hands, and giving away to low heart rendering choking sobs. For a moment i dared not disturb that mothers anguish.
"you are here," she said, as she started to her feet. "Oh a thousand, thousand thanks."
Gently we moved the death couch to the window in order to get the best light, though but a ray. What a face! What a picture did it reveal. Though the hand of God is the most skillful, yet i thought the sculptor had been there to chisel out that round forehead, to form that exquisite shoulder, to mark the playful smile about those thin lips, and to give the graceful curves of those full arms that lay across her now motionless heart, what a beautiful creation would come from his hands.
The mother held up a white cloth to give me reflecred light to subdue the shadows. All was still, I took the cap from the camera. About two minutes had elapsed, when a bright sun ray broke through the clouds, dashed its bright beams upon the reflector, and shedding, as it were, a supernatrual light. I was startled, the mother riveted with frightful gaze, for at the same moment we beheld the muscles about the mouth of the child move, and her eyes partially open, a smile played upon her lips, a long gentle sigh heaved her bosom, and as i replaced the cap, her head fell over to one side. The mother screamed.
"She lives! She lives!" and fell upon her knees by the side of the couch.
"No" was my reply. "she is dead now, the web of life is broken."
The camera was doing its work as the cord that bound the gentle being to earth snapped and loosened the spirit for another and better world. If the earth lost a flower, Heaven gained an angel.
(Gabriel Harrison 1851)
both extracts from, secure the shadow, Jay Ruby

secure the Shadow

I am currently reading this book,

Secure the Shadow, by Jay Ruby, for my Dissertation on Victorian Postmortem photographs of Children and the idea of Immortality at that time.
Such a great book with some stunning images.
Read it if you get the chance, i am also looking for James Van Der Zees work, in 'The Harlem Book of the Dead'

Child Art

I found this child artist, Marla Olmstead after watching a documentary about her, she started painting at 2 years old and is now 8 and sells her work for thousands. I'm not really sure what i think about it all, but i do like the painting, they're very energetic

Saturday, 5 December 2009

David Shrigley

This is so wonderful!

Monday, 30 November 2009


Here are some really incredible photographs of patients from Londons Bethlam Royal Hospital also known as 'Bedlam' taken in the 1800s by Henry Hering

Sunday, 29 November 2009

i really, really love this picture!