The displayed clutter of smiling faces and sunlit scenery might seem to be a radical jump from the contrived funerary portraits next-door. But the reoccurring shadow, which invites us to ponder the relationship between the people in front of and behind the camera, also alludes to the ever-present specter of death, the grim reaper lurking on the fringes of life.
Some of the snapshot shadows are so prominent that they appear deliberate.
David Kilpatrick wrote:... There is no mention of something important (and hidden) in UK and Irish photo history, the death portrait. This was and to a degree still is a professional commission in predominantly Roman Catholic areas, notably Liverpool; after the undertaker has prepared the corpse for lying-in (traditionally at the home of the family, not in a funeral parlour) the local wedding and portrait photographer takes a death portrait.
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