From Library Journal
The proprietor and curator of the Burns Archive, a large collection of early medical and 19th-century documentary photography in New York, Stanley Burns and his daughter, Elizabeth, have produced a sumptuous volume of beautifully reproduced postmortem photographs, expanding on his 1991 volume, Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America. Photographs from 15 countries, ranging from the earliest daguerreotypes to present-day color snapshots, show that since the invention of photography survivors have sought to fix their memory of deceased loved ones. These disturbing and strangely beautiful images depict children and adults, famous people and those buried en masse, as well as advertising photographs for a mortuary, a World War I German grave marker, and an Afghan hound in its satin-lined casket. Carrying on the tradition, Burns and his brother are photographed in 1995 with their deceased father, and some photographs depict the communal grieving that resulted from the 2001 World Trade Center bombing, capturing posters, prayer walls, and memorials. With essays and picture titles in both French and English, this book is comprehensive and unique. Highly recommended for photohistory collections and those dealing with anthropology, sociology, and the history of medicine.Kathleen Collins, Bank of America Corporate Archives, San Francisco
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A thing of morbid beauty and fascination..." - New York Press
"These private mementos of death have fallen into the public...They have lost their memorial function on the individual level, and have instead become a memorial to the cultural practice." - Speak Magazine