How do you photograph a funeral?

In British culture we seem very averse to showing emotion or embracing and remembering that part of our life – death.

On this topic, one of my university lecturers spoke of a time she was asked to photograph a Sikh funeral. Despite her reluctance and the families persistence she eventually did. The purpose was not to document a families pain but to celebrate the life of the departed.

I feel British funerals, whether they’re agnostic or Christian, are not yet at the point of being open to the presence of a camera at a funeral.

Today we say farewell and lay to rest Joan Stevens. Joan, being my wife’s nan who practically raised her, was also my children’s last surviving great grandparent. Being something of a hobbyist florist, my mother-in-law wanted to prepare the flowers. This became a family occasion and a chance to start celebrating the life we will gather to remember later today.

Published by andrewphayward

Photographer and Photography teacher from the south of England. Pursuer of the arts of Deadpan and Documentary Photography with a particular interest in the anthropology of non-place. ***All my views are my own and don't reflect those of the institution I work for***

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