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Photos at a Funeral

Listening to the radio on my journey into work is usualy my time of the day where i chill and reflect , the sound of the radio being a gentle noise in the background rarely invades my space . However this morning the presenter was reading the news headlines from the papers and raised the issue of a certain celebrity being criticised for taking photographs at her grandmothers funeral.

in my long career , mainly caring for people approaching the end of their lives , as well as in my personal experience the need to be close to those we love who have died is something I have observed and personally felt . That may be realised in the need of keepsakes that invoke a memory , a smell , a sound It is a personal need that we naturally find ways to keep that person alive within our soul . Culturally we are continually changing , keeping pace with technology but also cleaving onto our customs and practices. This can cause both internal and external conflict, but like all changes leads to questioning and the movement of what society agrees is acceptable. We have generations now who have the ability to photograph and share their lived life experiences in real time, how often are we sent photographs or see them shared on social media of peoples dinners , holiday drinks and various other aspects of life we generally didn’t share in the past? Why then should we be surprised when some of us have a desire to share those intimate human experiences such as death via photographs. Death like birth is a reality , it will happen to each and everyone of us and like birth it is a unique experience for that individual and their loved ones . Surely part of breaking down the taboo of death and dying is to be accepting of the different ways that people celebrate a persons life and death, if that is taking photographs of your loved ones funeral is your way then we need to be open and supportive to this and look at it as a positive , at least it will be remembered , discussed and recorded and that has to be a step to shifting the hidden whispers surrounding death and dying to actually putting it into an album on the family coffee table for all to see and maybe even start the conversation.

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