Now I lay me down to sleep.
June 7, 2006 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Their task may be depressing, but the generosity of their work is inspiring and hopefully thereputic. The photographers who are working with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep provide their services on a volunteer basis to help families over come the grief of losing an infant. If you're a professional photographer interested in being involved, they're seeking volunteers.
posted by blaneyphoto (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Once is understandable, but twice is unforgivable.
posted by pmbuko at 8:23 PM on June 7, 2006

nay, thrice!

and this smells of canned pink stuff to me
posted by pmbuko at 8:24 PM on June 7, 2006

pmbuko - what are you talking about?
posted by jonson at 8:27 PM on June 7, 2006

If your comments are meant to indicate that I'm either posting something previously posted, then please point me to it, 'cause I couldn't find it. OR if you're indicating that you think I'm involved with that organization - then the answer is no. I may be a photographer, but I don't have what it takes to do THAT job.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:30 PM on June 7, 2006

Am I reading this website correctly? Do they photograph dead infants in such a way as to make them appear to be alive, albeit sleeping?

Well, okay. I can't say I'm warm to the idea, but I've never been in the situation of losing a child, either.

The next time I get my heart broken I'll try asking the woman to pose with me in some photographs as if we were getting married - to help me through the grieving process.
posted by Ritchie at 8:34 PM on June 7, 2006


My understanding is that they are not necessarily dead, but in some cases are. I believe most photos are taken of terminally ill infants. - This is based on my reading of an article in this months Photo District News. Article not available online.

Also, I think the grief process is rather different for a parent/infant relationship than a partner/partner relationship, so I don't think you comment there is quite accurate.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:40 PM on June 7, 2006

I think I took the last photos of a friend's baby that died recently. The shots turned out to be useful and the only "arty" shots they had of him. They assembled a book of all the photos of his short life and I think it did help them grieve but I can't bring myself to look at the shots anymore.

I took them out of iphoto and they're still in a zip file I sent the parents right after I took them (when he was still alive).
posted by mathowie at 8:53 PM on June 7, 2006

I've taken many photos of terminally ill infants. The crying and gratitude of the parents will stick with me always. What is harder than that for me is opening the obituaries and seeing a portrait I took when the baby was perfectly healthy. I still can't take the "daddy's hands" pose without choking up.

At sears portrait (disclosure: i work there) if a child dies during the first year and we have pictures in the last six months we give them the full copyright to the entire session(s) and five sheets of pictures. I have seen too many families fight over who gets these pictures to remember all the good will that should be associated with this.
posted by nadawi at 9:00 PM on June 7, 2006

I knew a woman who carried a photo of her stillborn child -- it comforted her. She showed it to me. The photo looked cheap, like a snapshot, and I'm sure it would have meant a great deal to her to have something professionally taken. It was one of the few things she'll ever have to remember her child. This was years ago, and I'll never forget it.

I respect any photographer with the generosity and courage to do this for a grieving parent.
posted by melissa may at 9:02 PM on June 7, 2006

Powerful post. Thank you.
posted by nickyskye at 9:09 PM on June 7, 2006

Gah, I couldn't even make it through all the photo slides on the main page before I was crying.

(It's one of those things that as a mother hit me right in the chest and made it hard to breathe for a moment, the imagining that it very well could have been one of my children in those pictures.)

Very powerful stuff.
posted by obeetaybee at 9:14 PM on June 7, 2006

I was talking about the number of times 'thier' was used. Apologiesd for having nothing constuctive to add...
posted by pmbuko at 9:15 PM on June 7, 2006

I totally shrieked when I saw a pic of a baby's feet with a wedding band and an engagement ring on the toes. It made me feel sick to my stomach - the hopes and dreams pinned on a child and then to lose that child. Oh so horrible.

I can't imagine wanting a photo like that one. Some of the others were tolerable but barely. And I'm so far removed from that situation.
posted by agregoli at 9:26 PM on June 7, 2006

Some people go far beyond photography. Some of these people are elected officials.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:31 PM on June 7, 2006

The same people who take the pictures of newborns in the hospital will take the same pictures of stillborn children. Don't recall if it was a free service or not. Same poses, that is to say, not really posed, but not particulary arty nor snapshot-ish.
posted by Windopaene at 9:52 PM on June 7, 2006

blaneyphoto: Read the website and testimonials, these are primarily portraits of dead infants.

It's just all too creepy and tragic for me to stomach, but I've never lost a child either. I know I certainly couldn't handle photographing this sort of situation - the people who do are either saints or sociopaths.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:37 PM on June 7, 2006

CunningLinguist, I wish I hadn't read that. I hate to feel sorry for someone I so genuinely despise, but even at monster like Rick FrothyMixtureofLube&FecalMatter shouldn't have to go through something that grim.
posted by jonson at 10:45 PM on June 7, 2006

Upon their son's death, Rick and Karen Santorum opted not to bring his body to a funeral home. Instead, they bundled him in a blanket and drove him to Karen's parents' home in Pittsburgh. There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass.

Rick Santorum: Father First, Senator Second
posted by wfrgms at 11:00 PM on June 7, 2006

Grief is not a 'normal' state of mind, but it is natural and healthy. The sudden loss of a spouse is brutal, I unfortunately know from experience. Can't imagine loosing a child, nor do I wish to imagine such a thing.

When my partner died, I discovered I had no decent photos of us together. Luckily, I had a nice photo of him I'd taken a month before he died. That photo is still displayed in my office. This doesn't bother my new partner of 9 years. Grief no longer slaps me in the face, but then, it has been 18 years.
posted by Goofyy at 11:03 PM on June 7, 2006

Mod note: fixed the fpp typos
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:36 PM on June 7, 2006

This is not a new phenomenom. I collect TinType photos and always keep on the lookout for funereal photos. For some reason they are mostly of babies. When you think of the cost and the effort that went into a formal portrait sitting in the late 1800's there's something quite compelling about those images. Google tintype dead, and see a few images.
posted by Gungho at 4:16 AM on June 8, 2006

I once heard a piece on Woman's Hour about a lady who had made a business out of making custom hats and booties for stillborn babies, for photography and burial. It gave me the giggles.

Most of these photos are beautiful, poignant, and, especially the ones featuring parents too, pretty much heartbreaking. But the ones with the rings on toes had me giggling again - amazing that naff grief is possible, really. (Also disgusting that I'd laugh at it, obviously.)
posted by jack_mo at 5:27 AM on June 8, 2006

People, they are playing dressup with a DEAD BODY. This is a little too Buffalo Bill creepy for me.
posted by pieoverdone at 11:33 AM on June 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

amazing that naff grief is possible, really.

Naff? What does that mean?

People, they are playing dressup with a DEAD BODY. This is a little too Buffalo Bill creepy for me.

A dead body of someone they loved.
posted by agregoli at 11:36 AM on June 8, 2006

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