Secure the Shadow: Death and Photography in America

Secure the Shadow: Death and Photography in America

by Jay Ruby

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Overview

Secure the Shadow uses a combination of cultural anthropology and visual analysis to explore the photographic representations of death in the United States from 1840 to the present. It looks at the ways in which people have taken and used photographs of deceased loved ones and their funerals to mitigate the finality of death.

Ruby employs newspaper accounts, advertisements, letters, photographers' account books, interviews, and other material to determine why and how photography and death became intertwined in the nineteenth century. He traces this century's struggle between America's public denial of death and a deeply felt private need to use pictures of those we love to mourn their loss.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262681094
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 07/23/1999
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 7.59(w) x 9.68(h) x 0.57(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Seeing Death 1(1)
A Reflexive Interlude
2(3)
A Social Approach to Photography
5(2)
Looking at Death
7(4)
I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy
11(16)
Precursors: Mortuary and Posthumous Paintings
27(22)
Mortuary Portraits
27(9)
Posthumous Mourning Paintings
36(13)
One Last Image: Postmortem and Funeral Photography
49(64)
False Conceptions and Misperceptions
50(2)
The Openness of the Nineteenth Century
52(8)
Styles of Photographically Representing the Dead
60(25)
Babies, Pets, and Loss
85(3)
Family Funeral Photographs and Narrative Scenes of Grief
88(16)
Mourning Portraits and Jewelry
104(9)
Memorial Photography
113(46)
Public Memorial Representations
113(9)
Memorial Photographs
122(6)
Memorial and Funeral Cards
128(8)
Floral Memorial Photographs
136(5)
Illustrated Tombstones
141(18)
Conclusion: A Social Analysis of Death-Related Photographs
159(32)
Uses of Death-Related Photography
159(3)
Distribution and Frequency of Occurrence
162(12)
Motivation
174(17)
Appendix: Glossary of Photographic Terms 191(2)
Notes 193(6)
Bibliography 199(6)
List of Figures 205(10)
Index 215

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