All Over Bouquets of Roses, O Death!
Post-mortem photography (also known as memorial portraiture or a mourning portrait) is the practice of photographing the recently deceased. Various cultures use and have used this practice, though the best-studied area of post-mortem photography is that of Europe and America.
As the series grew, I knew I had to create a small diorama with a dead baby mouse.
A mourning scene.
I have been interested in post-mortem photography since I came across a photo of a dead girl and her sisters in a book about London and Oscar Wilde, back in 1999.
Making the mouse
One of my sources for information and inspiration for this very small diorama, was the the fantastic book Beyond The Dark Veil; Post Mortem and Mourning Photography from The Thanatos Archive.
An old cigar-box becomes a coffin, it fits a baby mouse.
Her burial dress
For her dress, I had to choose a very delicate fabric. All fabrics I use are vintage. I sometimes color or tint them, but they are always made out of old clothes or fabrics.
This one is made from a very old, beautiful dress that friends gave me. They had bought it at a flee market, and the quality was perfect for this.
I cut out flowers from a piece of lace and attached them to the skirt.
The coffin is padded with silk, and I made the pillow from another piece of vintage clothing.
I made all the flowers from hand-tinted silk-paper.
My grandmother would make silk-flowers for funerals, and even if I never saw any of these bouquets, I always imagined what they would have looked like.
Inspired by this, I created roses in many shades for this scene.
One vase is made from a metal lid , the other sculpted in polymer clay.
Walt Whitman – When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d
Julie Loen photographed this scene with a backdrop-photo that I did with wetplate-artist Serge Romanov the summer of 2018. Serge and I both love post mortem photographs, so this was an homage to him.
I usually create many different pieces of art for each room, paintings or drawings, just choosing a few in the end. When doing the final touches of a scene, I try different pieces on the wall, to see what works best, and it’s great to have a few to choose from.