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I Belong


Guest Authors: A. Griffin & L. Brown (Guest Post & Giveaway)

I’m pleased to welcome Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown here today to Dark Faerie Tales to talk about Picture the Dead, which was recently released on May 1, 2010.  You can read Chapter 1 here.

One lucky commenter has a chance to win a copy of Picture the Dead.  Details are listed at the end of the post.


Photographing the Dead

by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

The importance of photographing the dead was a natural extension of the early days of photography, then considered a “black art” and regarded with equal parts suspicion and awe. The era of photography’s rising popularity also coincided with the American Civil War. Such comprehensive visual documentation brought home, as no other war before it, the brutality of its battlefields and casualties. In our novel, Picture the Dead, the heroine herself is confronted with a few such photographs. “I examine portrait images of young boys with guns high as their chest. Rows of the dying. Rows of hospital beds. The pictures have a dizzying effect on me.”

At the same time, the Victorian era saw not only death in war, but also through disease. Diphtheria, measles, tuberculosis, and scarlet fever were just some of the dread diagnosis that took life violently and unexpectedly. Oftentimes, the most at risk were babies and children, and funerals were part of daily life. Shocked by grief, families turned to photography as both a recourse and means to preserve a memory—especially when no photograph of the living child existed. A photographer was employed to take a postmortem photograph, also known as a “memento mori.” Memento mori is a Latin term that refers to any sort of artistic expression that reminds us of our mortality. It can be translated as “remember that you are mortal” or “remember that you must die.”

In a memento mori photograph, the lifeless corpse was either arranged as if in sleep, or, more incredibly, propped up to a seated or standing position, often in a group of living people, and with his or her eyes pried open as if in life. In yet another tactic, artists were called upon to paint eyeballs meticulously over closed lids, in order to create the illusion of an open eye. To our modern sensibility, such images hold an element of creepy, transgressive horror. When refracted through the prism of time, however, we can find kinship with our ancestors in realizing that there are no boundaries, emotional or temporal, in our all-too-human need to hold onto the memories of our loved ones.

These fascinating photographs, sometimes beautiful, sometimes terrible and always morbid, can be found collected here, at The Thanatos Archive.  Warning: some of these photographs are extremely disturbing and not for the squeamish.  But remember, they were taken out of a sense of duty and love towards the deceased.

Photographs of the Civil War dead on the battlefield can be seen at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.

Authors Bio:


ADELE GRIFFIN has written a number of novels for middle grade and young adult readers, including the Witch Twins and Vampire Island series, as well as the novels Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be, both National Book Award Finalists. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, New York.

She is merely unapologetic.

LISA BROWN is the author and/or illustrator of a growing number of books, including How to Be, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, and Baby Mix Me a Drink. She draws the Three Panel Book Review cartoon for the book section of the San Francisco Chronicle. Lisa lives in San Francisco with her son and her husband, who is rumored to be Lemony Snicket.

She is an unapologetic history geek.

You can visit them around the web here: Book Site | Adele Griffin | Lisa Brown | Adele – Twitter | Lisa – Twitter

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Picture the Dead.

To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:

Would you be able to do the job of a post-mortem photographer?

1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).

2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.

3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).

4. Giveaway is open to everyone.

5. Please include your email address in your comment.

6. Giveaway ends Tuesday, July 13th at 11:59 PM EST.

7. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.


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48 Responses to “Guest Authors: A. Griffin & L. Brown (Guest Post & Giveaway)

  1. mel butcherNo Gravatar
    1

    yes i’d be able to do the job of post mortem photographer, i wouldn’t be able to do the post mortems though

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  2. mel butcherNo Gravatar
    2

    sorry forgot to count entries
    +1 for answering question
    +2 following blog and on twitter, twitter id is @melspur
    3 entries

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  3. NatashaNo Gravatar
    3

    I messed up that last post.. but I’ll give it another go!
    I think I could have that job. If you could separate the idea of them being people in your head, with them being just something you have to take a picture of, the I could do it.. but it wouldn’t be a job I’d be full time happy with.

    +1 answered question
    +2 Follower of your blog: Natasha Jennex
    and Twitter : @AGreatBook
    +3 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/AGreatBook/status/16780065062

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  4. Angela MesserNo Gravatar
    4

    I don’t think I could, I couldn’t look at the bodies objectively.
    I follow this blog and I follow you on twitter @readingangel002

    dukesangel002(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  5. DarlynNo Gravatar
    5

    that will be the last thing i would like to do!

    +1 answer Question
    +2 follow blog via GFC and twitter (@darlyn5)
    +3 twitted here http://twitter.com/darlyn5/status/16783774068

    darlyn225 at gmail dot com

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  6. JoNo Gravatar
    6

    I would definitely be able to take this kind of photography, because it’s all about respecting the dead. It’s not supposed to be a horror-filled thing, but a respectful documentation of someone. But then again, one of my hobbies is cemetery photography. :)

    +1 answer question (sorry, I’m a follower, but I don’t tweet)
    LiquidityofTime @ gmail . com

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  7. FredaNo Gravatar
    7

    +1 As morbid an answer as it is, yes. Leave it at that.
    +2 Follow blog and tweets; @fredalicious
    +3 tweet; http://twitter.com/fredalicious/status/16796564127

    Awesome, thanks.

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

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  8. MelissaNo Gravatar
    8

    I’d like to think I could do this job – I watch enough shows like Dexter and Six Feet Under, but I have a feeling that this wouldn’t exactly be the same thing as viewing it in person. In fact, I someone fall and get a pretty big gash on his head this past winter, and I had a hard time looking at the blood, it really affected me. So probably not…

    +1 for answering question.
    +2 I’m a follower of the blog and you on twitter @YABookShelf
    +3 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/YABookShelf/status/16796949857

    Thanks for this contest, I’m really looking forward to reading this book. :) melissa [at] yabookshelf [dot] com

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  9. jedisakoraNo Gravatar
    9

    I believe i would be able to do this job. It would just take me awhile to get used to being around dead people.

    Melissa
    +1 question
    +2 follower
    moc.nsmnull@arokasidej

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  10. GraceNo Gravatar
    10

    +1 I might just be able to after getting over the decomposing stench. So yes, visually it wouldn’t be a problem for me.

    +2 Followed via google follower and followed Twitter (@luvingchu)

    +3 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/luvingchu/status/16805024101

    ilovearevolution (at) live (dot) com

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  11. PamNo Gravatar
    11

    I think I would be able to photograph the dead. It is really a service to the family.
    +1 question
    +2 follower on blog and Twitter
    +3 Tweeted and blogged. http://midnytereader.blogspot.com/2010/06/picture-dead-contest-at-dark-faerie.html

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  12. Jaz.parksNo Gravatar
    12

    Belive it or not, i´m going to study Criminoligy! I´m sure i would love have this book on my hands! So, Would I be able to do the job of a post-mortem photographer? YES! Of course! I think it something awesome!! Really, i didn´t know about this book, but now i want to have it and start reading it!!
    +1 answering the question
    +2 Follow
    +3 bloged the contest http://concursos-de-la-blogosfera.blogspot.com/2010/06/adele-griffin-and-lisa-brown.html
    +3 sidebar
    Total entiries:+9.AND my e-mail address is dani(dot)prmr(at)hotmail(dot)com

    BYEEE! jaz.parks

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  13. SharliNo Gravatar
    13

    I’d probably be able to do it. I think dead is only morbid if you make it morbid. It doesn’t have to be eerie and horror-filled. Although i do think it would take some time getting used to.

    +1 entry for answering the question (required).
    +2 entries for being a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
    +3 tweet: http://twitter.com/Entre_Libros/statuses/16820333704

    Thank you!
    entrelibros_blog at hotmail.com

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  14. Carol ThompsonNo Gravatar
    14

    Answer: My first reaction was, No, I am probably too squeamish to do the job. But then I though that I might be able to get used to doing the job. But on the whole, I think what would put me totally off the job is the smell that morgues have. It is a unique smell (of death probably), and I don’t think they are ever able to completely gid rid of it.
    That would give me nightmares.

    +1 Answer
    +2 Follower

    Thanks

    Carol t

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

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  15. Badass BookieNo Gravatar
    15

    I don’t think I would be able to do the job. Tye sight of blood makes me feel queasy let alone a dead body!

    +1 Question Relpy
    +2 follower on twitter and here
    +3 Twittered – http://twitter.com/BadassBookie/status/16832708208

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  16. AmbarNo Gravatar
    16

    1. +1 Of course! I think I could!
    2. +2 simply_haku (google connect) & @simplyhaku (twitter)
    3. +3 twitted http://twitter.com/simplyhaku/status/16835040297

    sidebar http://simplyhaku.splinder.com/

    moc.liamtohnull@ukah_ylpmis

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  17. Jessy B.No Gravatar
    17

    No, I couldn’t do that. I can’t be around anything dead.

    +2-Follower here and on Twitter (@emma015)
    +3-Tweeted: http://twitter.com/Emma015/statuses/16848285171

    findjessyhere at gmail dot com

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  18. RedButterflyNo Gravatar
    18

    +1 Gosh no, I would be scarred shi*****. I think I would probably faint or throw up >.<

    +2 blog follower

    +3 posted about the contest at my blog (http://redbutterflyreviews.blogspot.com/2010/06/contest-dark-faerietales.html)

    lalafran(at)gmail(dot)com

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  19. debpNo Gravatar
    19

    I would have to say maybe. I could probably photograph adults, but not children. +1
    moc.oohaynull@21dnikafoowt

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  20. kisah j.No Gravatar
    20

    oh heck no! i’m terrified of dead things….i’ve almost passed out at funerals, and that’s closed coffins!

    +1 for answering the question
    +2 i follow your blog

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

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  21. Amanda-LeeNo Gravatar
    21

    +1 Yes! That would be pretty cool i reckon. I have a morbid curiosity about the goriness of how people die. Especially on law and order…i always hope they show us hehe…

    +2 i follow both

    moc.liamgnull@sweiver.sgniw

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  22. YelaniaNo Gravatar
    22

    Yes, of course. It´s amazing. I would definitely be able to take this kind of photography, and I´m biologist. So yes, it would be wonderful…

    +1 for answering the question
    +3 Post the contest
    +3 Sidebar

    http://the-itzel-library.blogspot.com/2010/06/concursos-blogosfericos.html

    moc.liamtohnull@yrarbil_lezti

    Kind regards

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  23. Eva SBNo Gravatar
    23

    Would you be able to do the job of a post-mortem photographer?
    +1 I don’t think so. The problem is that the corpse were made to look so life like and I would be terrified they would actually come to life!

    +2 I’m a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter. @EVA_n_essence

    +3 I tweeted
    http://twitter.com/EVA_n_essence/status/17009586129

    eva.s.black[@]gmail[.]com

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  24. pingback:
    24
    Haunted Twilight | Literary Escapism

    […] Adele Griffin, author of Picture the Dead, at Dark Faerie Tales […]

  25. JustineNo Gravatar
    25

    +1 I think I could handle photographing the dead. I have a really easy time detaching myself from things (rather that’s a good thing or bad). So as long as I could keep the midset that they’re just another focus of one of my pictures, I’d be fine.

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  26. KateNo Gravatar
    26

    +1 I would be able to do the job. I went to school for forensic science and I participated in some autopsy’s & crime scene investigations. I would not get sick from it, and I think it would be an interesting job.

    +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter. (@sithereandread)

    +3 entries for tweeting: http://twitter.com/sithereandread/status/17287525966

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  27. LenaNo Gravatar
    27

    +1 Answering question: Umm, no. Definitely not. I would throw up all over the body, lol.

    +2 blog and twitter follower (@Lena1xoxo)

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  28. Steve CapellNo Gravatar
    28

    +1 No thank you! I would not be able to do that job! I found your review to be intriguing and one that I would take pleasure in reading.

    Thank you so much for hosting this giveaway.

    steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

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  29. JulieNo Gravatar
    29

    I suppose I could do the job of taking the photos, as long as they got rid of the smell!

    I’m a follower on Google and Twitter.

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  30. sandraNo Gravatar
    30

    Would you be able to do the job of a post-mortem photographer?

    1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).
    In theory I think that yes, but then… I’m not too sure what would happen in reality =D

    2. I’m a follower but i don’t have twitter

    3. +3 entries for blogging about it, (http://manga-shojo.blogspot.com/2010/06/picture-death-giveaway.html)

    5. Please include your email address in your comment.
    (se.liamtohnull@agnamydnas)

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  31. NathanNo Gravatar
    31

    +1 I would be able, if I could do the final project of the photograph class I can do this, gg
    +2 follower of blog (Nathan) & Twitter (Lestat1203)
    +3 entries for tweeting about this contest
    http://twitter.com/Lestat1203/status/17416604189

    Email: moc.liamgnull@30.21.tatseL

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  32. EstefaniaNo Gravatar
    32

    +1 Yes, I would be able to do the job, but it would take some time to get used to being around dead bodies.

    I’m a follower, but no twitter…

    email: moc.liamgnull@anusoavlise

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  33. JoanNo Gravatar
    33

    Would you be able to do the job of a post-mortem photographer?

    Hm, I would be able to do it but I wouldn’t like it much. I LOVE photographing (living) people in movement, going about their daily lives, without posing..
    But the undead? Interesting, I suppose.

    anbi14 at hotmail dot com

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  34. Kim SkeltonNo Gravatar
    34

    I don’t think I would like that type of job but I have heard of an organization (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) that photographs (for free) infants who have passed away so the parents would have a photo of their angel babies. It sounds so sad but what a compassionate organization.

    +1 answered question
    +2 became a follower (blog and Twitter)@mrs_skelton
    +3 tweeted, blogged, and sidebar

    skeltons3 at hotmail dot com

    http://skeltonsbooktree.blogspot.com/2010/07/contest-at-dark-faerie-tales.html

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  35. Rachel VanceNo Gravatar
    35

    I could probably do it, I’m strange, I could take pictures of dead humans but not dead animals.

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  36. EliseNo Gravatar
    36

    I would not be able to be a post-mortem photographer because that would creep me out and I wouldn’t be able to get those images out of my head.

    I am a follower of the blog via GFC. I don’t have a twitter account.

    caliblue7 at gmail dot com

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  37. Diana ReyesNo Gravatar
    37

    +1 Would you be able to do the job of a post-mortem photographer?
    Actually yes, I mean, it is not going to be my first option for applying to a job, but I don’t see nothing bad on it :P
    If you think about it, this would be something easy to do…

    +2 I’m a follower
    Google Firned Conect: Diana
    Twitter: diana_LDV1

    +3
    I tweeted here: http://twitter.com/diana_LDV1/status/17986072952
    On my sidebar: http://librosdevida.blogspot.com/

    Email: moc.liamtohnull@1adivedsorbil

    That’s all.. thanks 4 th giveaway!

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  38. Ashley SNo Gravatar
    38

    Ooh I really want to read this one! Thanks. :)
    booksobsession(at)gmail(dot)com

    +1 Would you be able to do the job of a post-mortem photographer? Nooooo way. I don’t have the stomach to be able to even look at a dead body. As interesting as that job sounds, I could never do it.

    +2 I’m a follower of the blog and on Twitter @booksobsession.

    +3 Sidebar at http://booksobsession.blogspot.com

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  39. FerretvampNo Gravatar
    39

    +1-I believe I could do post-mortem photography. I’m a nurse, and death is part of the equation.
    +3-Tweeted-http://twitter.com/ferretvamp14/status/18082200532

    I follow your blog.

    ferretvamp14[at]live[dot]com

    Thanks for the contest!

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  40. graceNo Gravatar
    40

    Would you be able to do the job of a post-mortem photographer?

    I think I can if there’s really no other choice but this job. I have to admit though that it’ll be uncomfortable in the first few days on the job, but I think over time you’d eventually get used to it, like most things in life. c:

    vesipisaroita [at] gmail [dot] com

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  41. Jennifer WittbNo Gravatar
    41

    No. I am a nurse and I don’t think I could. Its morbid. I could photograph blood and gore but not the dead.

    +1 question
    +2 follower

    total 3

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  42. April HunterNo Gravatar
    42

    I don’t think so couldn’t do a job like that to see dead bodies ewww !

    I was wondering could you handle that kind of job ?

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  43. Stella (Ex Libris)No Gravatar
    43

    I think there is something eery about capturing the dead on photo, wouldn’t like to do that as a job!

    +1 entry for answering the question (required).

    +2 I’m already a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter (@Stella_Ex Libris)

    +3 tweeted: http://twitter.com/Stella_ExLibris/status/18348695305

    +3 posted on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000899165880&v=wall&story_fbid=143402729003922&ref=mf

    Thank you!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

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  44. Jessi ElliottNo Gravatar
    44

    I would not be able to do that job. I get grossed out very easily.

    I’m a follower here and on twitter (@elliottreview)

    Tweet: http://twitter.com/elliottreview/status/18356687087
    Sidebar link: http://elliottreview.blogspot.com/p/giveaways.html

    (Total: 5?)

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  45. kemendraughNo Gravatar
    45

    Brrrr. No. I haven’t even LOOKED at a dead body, not even at wakes.

    I’m a follower of both the blog and the twitter!

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  46. Meredith MillerNo Gravatar
    46

    Oh no….I can’t even smell the fish counter in the store without my stomach turning. Dead bodies? ack!

    I’m a follower!

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  47. Terry MacNo Gravatar
    47

    No, I would not be able to be a post-mortem photographer. It would make me too sad seeing all those dead bodies as a life’s work.

    I am a follower.

    Total 2 entries

    terrymac1a at hotmail dot com

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  48. AllisonNo Gravatar
    48

    I don’t think I’d be able to work as a post-mortem photographer because I wouldn’t want to work around dead bodies all the time.

    +2 Twitter follower

    allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

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