Feature image of the Post mortem exhibition, gelatin silver print, approx. 1910 (VS?) Feature image of the Post mortem exhibition, gelatin silver print, approx. 1910 (VS?)

Tot Zover

Post mortem. Photographs full of love and sorrow

With photography we can capture important moments from our lives. Moments we can preserve permanently. Over the years, a lot of people have felt the need to do so. Numerous deceased have therefore been photographed. Often it was the only picture people had of the deceased. Post Mortem is the first exhibition of the historic Frecker Collection ever. The exhibition shows how the old tradition of post-mortem photography gains new forms.


Photographs taken after death are usually intended for private use only. You will not see them in musea very often. Freckers collection of post mortem photographs is the largest in Europe and one of the largest world-wide. Museum Tot Zover was able to make an important selection to put on show. Most of the pictures are from the period 1860-1920. Two thirds of the photographs depict small children. Child mortality was high and this was often the only portrait that remained of the beloved child. These are special pictures that provide an insight in the emotional life of our forefathers.

‘Post Mortem’ also exhibits modern-day postmortem pictures made by photographers specialized in funeral photography. These photographers carry on an old tradition by shooting moving images of intimate, sorrowful moments.  As in the past, these photographs sometimes are the only picture that depicts the whole family unit together. In others, it is a final portrait and remembrance of the deceased before the coffin is closed.

On show are also two artworks of the series ´Insomnia´ by the artist Margriet Luyten. One of the works is an adaptation of a photo from the historic Frecker collection.

Post-mortemimages show a very intimate kind of loss. For an outsider it can be startling, seeing a dead person in a photograph. But remember they are always made out of love for someone. These photographs are a testimony of life-changing experiences and they capture invaluable memories.


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