Pentecostal Photography of Caskets?


10 years, 9 months ago

Have people of the Pentecostal faith ever had a tradition of photographing the dead in caskets? A deceased family member of mine was photographed in a casket in the 1960s in the Midwest, and it was explained to me that this used to be a Pentecostal tradition. Is this true? Did other religions do anything similar? (I’m trying to determine what religion the family member was). Thanks!

Jenny Mertes
10 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for your question! Although it may have been true in some regions of the U.S., we can find no data to support the tradition among Pentecostals of photographing the deceased in an open casket. In fact, it is more common among the Orthodox churches.

I can tell you from personal and anecdotal experience, however, that this practice of memorial photography (or “memento mori”) that started in the Victorian era is still done today among those of various religious traditions, although rarely. (Funeralwise recommends that mourners who are not family members always ask permission of the next of kin before taking photographs at a funeral, and especially before taking photos of the deceased.)

Thank you for joining the conversation at our forums.

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