The Way She Looked the Day She Died: Vernacular Photography, Memory, & Death

Amanda Brown

Abstract


Focusing on a private photographic memorial album held at the University of Colorado Boulder (UCB), this paper explores the relationship between photography, death, memory, and time in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century memorial photography. To date, what little research exists on memorial photography has dealt almost exclusively with single images rather than albums. In contrast, this paper focuses on how memorial photography functions in an album format, with particular attention paid to the implicit narrative of these albums.  In the case of the UCB album, image sequencing and the combination of image and text work together to enact a private mourning ritual and narrative, one in which photography serves to fix forever the deceased in an image of youthful innocence and beauty.

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