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  1. #26
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    Back when it was common for families to photograph the dead there weren't "rules", but as usual in our country the few decided it was not "correct" to photograph the dead and the practice was pretty much brought to a halt. Some cultures still do it though. Before photography many had paintings commissioned of the dead as a way to remember them.

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  2. #27
    Nikon User photo101's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    Funerals are a tough one.

    At my grandfather's funeral last january, I did take a few, but I did ask permission from my grandmother first. I actually found it difficult to take photographs just because of the emotional aspect of everything. (not to mention mention being with old friends and family who walk up saying "Oh my what a fine young man you have grown up to be", etc)

    I don't think I would consider doing it at anything other than a family event tho.

    I think someone mentioned earlier, its all about respect.
    Jared

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  3. #28
    Moderator Didache's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    I'm a minister in south London .. and I suppose I have conducted 250+ funerals in my time. I must admit that I have NEVER had anyone take pics at a funeral service itself or even asked about it. It strikes me that photographs of the service itself are rare enough to be considered tacky in the extreme. Also, it very likely would attract attention at a time when people are focussed on their loved one/friend/colleague. In short, I don't personally consider it a good idea (at least during the service itself)

    Personally, if someone DID ask me I would certainly not agree unless they were immediate family. Even then, I would apply the same rule as for weddings, ie no flash, no wandering about, and utter discretion.

    Photos of the flowers afterwards, etc are another matter of course.

    Hope this helps
    Mike

  4. #29
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian
    My dad's mom died of cancer when he was 16. Seeing pictures of her in the casket gave me a view into my father's life I would have never had otherwise.

    Life needs to be documented. I would miss out on so much if people in my family didn't feel the same way.

    Hope nobody minds that I bump this thread. I've been asked to video tape a funeral this Saturday and this thread came to mind.

    I feel I should record it as is without trying to be creative or else I may get in people's way and be a visual disturbance.

    I'm being asked and getting paid so I that tells me they want this done.

    This is an emotionally tough assignment.
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  5. #30
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    Quote Originally Posted by manacsa
    Hope nobody minds that I bump this thread. I've been asked to video tape a funeral this Saturday and this thread came to mind.

    I feel I should record it as is without trying to be creative or else I may get in people's way and be a visual disturbance.

    I'm being asked and getting paid so I that tells me they want this done.

    This is an emotionally tough assignment.
    Manacsa,

    I was asked to photograph my fiance's grandmother's funeral by her children. The family was incredibly appreciative. Some people gave me grief, but they were self-righteous jerks that had not even taken the time to ask the immediate family if this was something they condoned, they just wanted to make me feel bad, unsuccessfully I should add.

    Some day, I will show those photos to my kids, so they can see how beautiful their great grandma's funeral was.
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  6. #31
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    Thanks for the heads up.

    I'm glad nobody stopped you from documenting that important event.

    Video will provide a level of stealth for me. No clicks, no flash, and I'll stay put and give a solid recording. Part of me want to do a b-roll and really capture the emotion close up but I think I would be walking a thin line. Even if they said it was ok...I don't think I can bring myself to do it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian
    Manacsa,

    I was asked to photograph my fiance's grandmother's funeral by her children. The family was incredibly appreciative. Some people gave me grief, but they were self-righteous jerks that had not even taken the time to ask the immediate family if this was something they condoned, they just wanted to make me feel bad, unsuccessfully I should add.

    Some day, I will show those photos to my kids, so they can see how beautiful their great grandma's funeral was.
    Canon 5D MKII & Canon 7D

  7. #32
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    I forgot to mention, her favorite things in the world were butterflies. We released butterflies at the funeral. On our way to dinner I stopped at Walgreens and ran prints of the release for all her kids. Everyone was incredibly moved.

    Just remember, you are not exploiting the situation, this is not something you're doing for fun, ultimately this is out of respect. We document thing because we want to preserve them. No documenting a funeral is not respectful, nor is documenting one disrespectful, it's just part of life.
    -Seb

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  8. #33
    They call me P-Wac JETA's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    just saw how old the op was....
    It's not blurry. It's bokeh.

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  9. #34
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    I've always had my camera in the car when going to funerals -- but have always been too chicken to get it out and take photos. I regret it not doing it afterward since we have one of those families that only comes together for funerals. There have been at least three funerals in the past ten years that I still wish I had gotten some photos and at least three where I don't. Even sitting here knowing that I regret missing some family shots -- If I had a chance to do it over --I still don't know if I would. Weird huh?

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  10. #35
    Moderator Didache's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    Again (speaking as a pro here) please, please do consult with whoever is conducting the service. As well as objections on the grounds of taste from that quarter, there are copyright issues to consider.

    Cheers
    Mike
    Mike Dales ARPS
    My website: www.mikedalesphotography.co.uk

  11. #36
    Hardcore...Nikon Speed's Avatar
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    Since most of the family is from out of state,

    "this was one of the few times they all got together."

    When my wife's aunt Sara passed away, I took my camera with me to the funeral, but never took it out. Just before everyone left, her husband made the comment that this was the first time in a long time all the family had gotten together. It's sad that it takes a wedding or a funeral to bring family together.

    I've seen photo's being taken at a funeral, so I don't see a problem with it. It depends on what you're comfortable with.
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  12. #37
    Analog Photographer, Digital World Axle's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    Taking all things into account on this one...

    If the funeral is of a family member with no special events surrounding the service I would not photograph it.

    However in the case of a military funeral I probably would, and focus on the events surrounding it. the gun salute, flag presentation ect. Would I shoot during the service itself, no, it's a service of worship.
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  13. #38
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    I have shot several funerals. Not something I ever wanted to do but it goes with the job territory sometimes. I've covered funerals of politicians, prominent community members, police officers, fire fighters (and classmate), celebrities and way to many soldiers. Military families seem to be very understanding of why you are there. Many people find it disrespectful (my wife included) to shoot funerals. It should be approached with the utmost respect. I never use flash and always try to stay in the background and draw as little attention to myself as possible.

  14. #39
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    Quote Originally Posted by Didache
    Again (speaking as a pro here) please, please do consult with whoever is conducting the service. As well as objections on the grounds of taste from that quarter, there are copyright issues to consider.

    Cheers
    Mike
    I spoke to the priest before I started working. I was only told to turn off the camera during a certain part of the mass.

    It was a beautiful funeral and I knew the family wanted me there so I let the creative juices flow with restraint as not to be too obvious.The photographer, musicians, and I stayed in a general corner. It was a full mass, there were three eulogies, the interment had different things going on, and I shot a bit at the reception. I'm editing about 3 hours of video right now.

    I was a little bugged out by the photographer that took lots of flash photos of the widow during her most intense grieving. I shot some video as well but I don't think I was presenting the "in your face" approach. His flash went off one after another....it really bothered me. I felt like telling him that it was enough. If I were him, I would've set the ISO high and zoom into the scene and snap a few. He was really close a to her and the crowd of people trying to console her.

    Maybe some might thinks it is was ok but it bothered me.
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  15. #40
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    Quote Originally Posted by manacsa
    Maybe some might think it is was ok but it bothered me.
    I don't think that's OK either...

  16. #41
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    manacsa - you handled it just right, and sensitively, and stuck by the rules which the priest gave you. That is all I was arguing for.

    For myself, I would apply the same rules as I do for a wedding: no flash (at all!), be completely discreet (nobody should be overly aware of your presence so that it distracts them), and, above all, be sensitive (unlike the bozo you mentioned!)

    Mike
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  17. #42
    Grumpy Old Man Overbeyond's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing a Funeral: should or shouldn't

    Personally I hope the thought of photographing the funeral of any member of my family will never enter my mind. Images of these events dont need to be recorded by technology as they remain forever in the memory of relatives and loved ones.
    Not for me I'm afraid but, as I won't be around at the time, anyone wishing to to see me off with their cameras may do so, by prior arrangement and with a hefty sum lodged into the bank account of my favourite charity.
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