One sentence summary – The article explores the unique tradition of post-mortem photography in Tamil Nadu, India, highlighting the work of photographers Ravindran and Richard Kennedy, who have documented over 1,000 deceased individuals and played a significant role in preserving this cultural practice.
At a glance
- A unique photography tradition in Tamil Nadu, India involves capturing images of the deceased.
- This practice has seen a gradual decline over time.
- Despite the decline, it holds significant historical and cultural value in the region.
- Two photographers from Tamil Nadu, Ravindran and Richard Kennedy, have specialized in this unique form of portraiture.
- They have documented over 1,000 deceased individuals and come from a lineage of photographers.
In Tamil Nadu, India, a unique photography tradition has been practiced for many years.
This tradition involves capturing images of the deceased.
Over time, this practice has seen a gradual decline.
Despite this, it holds significant historical and cultural value within the region.
Two photographers from Tamil Nadu, Ravindran and Richard Kennedy, have specialized in this unique form of portraiture.
They have documented over 1,000 deceased individuals.
Ravindran and Richard Kennedy hail from Tamil Nadu, India.
They come from a lineage of photographers.
Their careers began in their fathers’ photo studios.
Over time, they developed expertise in photographing the deceased.
This practice is deeply rooted in Tamil Nadu’s cultural heritage.
Initially, Ravindran found the work unpleasant.
However, he eventually mastered techniques to present the deceased in a dignified and realistic manner.
In the past, certain communities in Tamil Nadu believed that being photographed during life would shorten their lifespan.
This resulted in people often having their first photograph taken after death.
The tradition of capturing the deceased in photographs was prevalent in many countries.
This was a means for families to remember their loved ones when photography was expensive.
While this tradition faded away in several parts of the world during the 20th century, it persisted longer in Tamil Nadu and other Indian states.
Ravindran and Richard not only photographed the deceased but also documented other ceremonies.
These included washing the body and adorning it with flowers.
They worked under tight deadlines.
Often, they developed and printed photos overnight to meet mourning rituals the following day.
Their clientele primarily consisted of Hindus and Christians.
Some families still preserve the photographs of their deceased loved ones in their prayer rooms.
Richard Kennedy faced a difficult situation when photographing a deceased newborn baby.
However, the mother’s efforts in bathing and dressing the baby made it appear doll-like in the photograph.
Richard also worked for the police department.
He captured images of unnatural deaths as evidence for court proceedings.
Despite the demand for their services, there was a stigma associated with this macabre line of work.
This led many people to be reluctant to hire them for other photography jobs.
With the advent of cheaper and user-friendly cameras in the late 1980s, people gradually overcame their fear of being photographed.
This caused the demand for post-mortem photography to decline.
In response, Richard shifted his focus to covering church events and festivals.
Ravindran transitioned into wedding photography.
Ravindran, who comes from a Hindu family, needed to undergo mandatory cleansing rituals before entering his home or studio.
This was due to the association of death-related places with impurity.
Ravindran expressed gratitude towards the deceased individuals who helped him learn the trade and overcome his fear of death.
However, he expressed his wish not to be photographed after his death.
Richard still preserves a collection of photographs of the deceased, including those of family members.
He wishes for his youngest son to continue this legacy by photographing him after his death.
The unique tradition of capturing the deceased through photography in Tamil Nadu, India, offers a glimpse into the intersection of tradition, culture, and personal remembrance.
Ravindran and Richard Kennedy’s expertise and dedication to this form of portraiture have left an indelible mark on the history and art of photography in the region.
A group of photographers in Tamil Nadu, India capture the essence of a distinctive tradition by photographing deceased individuals.
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If you have any suspicions that false information is present in the article, you can use this section to investigate where it came from.
|– Ravindran and Richard Kennedy are photographers from Tamil Nadu, India, who specialized in taking photos of the dead.|
|– They both started working in their fathers’ photo studios and have taken photos of over 1,000 dead people.|
|– In the past, many communities in Tamil Nadu believed that being photographed would shorten their lifespan, so people often had their first photo taken after death.|
|– Ravindran found the job unpleasant at first but eventually developed his own techniques to make the dead bodies look good and real in photos.
– Richard Kennedy had a difficult experience photographing a dead newborn baby, but the mother bathed and dressed the baby, making it look like a doll.
|– They also photographed other ceremonies like washing the body and decorating it with flowers.|
|– They worked on tight deadlines, sometimes developing and printing photos overnight for mourning rituals the next day.|
|– Their customers were mostly Hindus and Christians, and some still keep the photos of their dead relatives in their prayer rooms.|
|– Richard also worked for the police department, taking pictures of unnatural deaths for evidence in court.
|The photographers could charge double their usual fee for taking photos of dead bodies and received generous tips from relatives.|
|– There was stigma associated with their macabre line of work, and many people were reluctant to hire them for other jobs.
– Ravindran’s Hindu family treated places associated with death as impure, so he had to undergo a mandatory cleansing before entering his home or studio.
|– Taking photos after death used to be prevalent in many countries as a way for families to remember their loved ones when photos were expensive.|
|– The practice faded away in many parts of the world in the 20th Century, but it lasted longer in Tamil Nadu and other Indian states.|
|– Richard sees these photos as an extension of portraiture, which was once popular among the rich.|
|– In the late 1980s, cheaper and easy-to-use cameras became available, and people lost their fear of being photographed.
|As demand for their services fell, Richard switched to covering church events and festivals, while Ravindran became a wedding photographer.
– Ravindran is thankful to the dead who helped him learn the trade and overcome his fear of death, but he doesn’t want anyone to take a photo of him after his death.
|– Richard still keeps a collection of photos of the dead, including family members, and wants his youngest son to take a photo after his death to be part of the family heritage.|
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