Ditto and I fully believe that it should be given back to the origin. In this case, as Tracy stated, the public records office in Halifax. What is the greatness of holding a photo in a private collection for no one to access, except to hinder the workings of those who truly wish to place a name on a headstone and put an end to suffering for the family members.
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "aren't the dead photos hard to see?" Do you mean are they disturbing to look at, or do you mean isn't it too difficult to pick out details?
As someone who conducts autopsies on very decomposed remains, or remains that have been very damaged (recently, a double homicide cremation of a young couple - the female was pregnant) I do not have a problem looking at photos of dead individuals. Not meaning to sound cavalier, but in my line of work you have to be somewhat detached and definitely have your head screwed on straight, or you would go nuts.
If instead, you are talking about photo details, it certainly depends on the quality of the photos. However, digital technology works wonders at enhancing detail, and even old photos usually still retain some details worth comparing. Forensic photo identification involves a number of aspects including things like superimposition, and detailed measurements.
I have finally managed to go through all of the archived messages regarding the death photos on Ebay, as well as on the Halifax exhumations. It strikes me, particularly regarding the exhumations that a lot of argument, er, discussion, ensued over items regarding the project that were not understood. In some cases the facts were in error. If you would all like more information regarding the exhumations, and why they were conducted, and what the families feelings were/are, I will happily begin a new thread (if I can figure out how) and you may all ask questions to your heart's content. I can't guarantee that I will be able to answer everything, but I would like to clear up some blatant errors, and be as informative as I possibly can.
It may be considered rather morbid, but how many of you can put hand on your heart and honestly say you would,nt buy these sort of photos? I am a squeamish person but would feel closer to the tragedy and the persons involved. The body is just a shell anyway and their souls have departed.Jan BTS
What I meant by "aren't the dead photos hard to see?"was the difficulty of picking out details. You have explained the assistance of digital technology which I can thoroughly appreciate, as I work in IT (Information Technology) myself. You have answered my question of how you are able to decipher a deceased photo with an uh, "before deceased" photo. Well, thanks for that.
"I can't guarantee that I will be able to answer everything, but I would like to clear up some blatant errors, and be as informative as I possibly can."
I personally would love to see the blatant errors corrected, and I am sure others would too. You could enlist the errors on the original "Exhumation" Thread or enlist them here, it doesn't matter to me as long as I (and maybe I should say, "we") get them.
Thank you for sharing your personal feelings on the matter of photos of the Titanic deceased.
Mine are that I would never buy any photos of deceased Passengers or Crew. I asked myself honestly if I could be "proud" of having such photos in my collection, and the answer I came up with was NO!!!!!
Jan. If money wasn't an object, I would have straight out bought the photos, and turned around and made certain that they were returned to the rightful place. (It's sort of like ransom). If they had a copy, I would have made arrangements for some museum to have it, or if there were any relatives, I would have asked for their wishes.
Jan asked: "It may be considered rather morbid, but how many of you can put hand on your heart and honestly say you would,nt buy these sort of photos?"
I think offering photos like this for sale (or publishing them in books) is disgusting. The only reason I would personally buy photos like this is to keep them out of the hands of ghouls who want to publish them for someone else's sordid amusement (as has happened on numerous occasions with the Lusitania victim pictures). Believe me, I would get no pleasure from owning them other than knowing I have kept them from the prying eyes of others, who (in my opinion) have no compelling reason to look at them.
One of my biggest irritations with publishers and documentary producers is the fact that they *insist* on using the photos of the Lusitania dead without any thought being given to whether or not members of the victims' family is still alive. Every time I work on a documentary, I make a point of telling the producers up front that the photos should not be used, and I recite a litany of reasons. Of course, my suggestion is never taken by these "ratings vultures," and the poor victims of the Lusitania are trotted out on television (as well as in books) for the whole world to see.
A perfect example is the photo in The Liners by Terry Coleman. To most people this poor woman is simply "No. 75." In life, she was Alice Loynd, a second-class passenger traveling with her husband. They were both lost. I have been in touch with Mrs. Loynd's niece, and she was disgusted beyond belief to learn that this photo of her aunt lying in her casket has been published -- not once but numerous times.
I see no reason to print images like this other than to satisfy the ghoulish bloodthirstyness of the public and to put more money into the publisher's pockets. What kind of world do we live in?
When I went to the Cunard Archives with about two dozen "in-life" pictures of people who were lost in the Lusitania disaster, but who were never identified, I was told that under no circumstances could I have access to the photos even though it was at the request of the victims' families that I went there to try to identify their loved ones. I couldn't see the pictures in an effort to give names to those unidentified victims, but a documentary producer could use them in a show that will be broadcast to hundreds of millions of people. Hmmm....
Fortunately, management at the Cunard archives has changed, and film producers and publishers are now being told "no" when they ask to use the pictures.
Beautifully put Eric. I watched the National Geographic Lusitania video with true eagerness to learn, and thought that with the film footage, on site location shots, and the few survivors interviews it was excellent, up to the point of some hideous music that started and all the sudden, Bob Ballard sitting in a dimly lit basement and viewing the morgue photos. Gee, they HAD to put the one of the tiny baby in there for all to see? I could have done without that. It made all the appeal of this video vanish.
As as descendent of victims of both the Titanic and the Lusitania, It makes me angry to think that others are making money off the pictures of the dead victims. While I never new my ancestors, I did now my Grandmother and it was a great loss to her entire family to loose two in the same way. No one has the right to make money off this kind of thing. Those pictures belong in a museum. I do not believe any of my family would want a picture of someone that they would prefer to remember as the kind of person they were.
I share Colleen's feelings regarding buying photos. As I mentioned before, I don't believe any of these records really just go missing. People come upon boxes of stuff from the Titanic archives, or the JFK assassination, or whatever, and they help themselves. If I had all the money in the world I would happily buy any Titanic dead photos, and turn around and give them back to the public records office. For that fact, if I had that much money I would also happily donate an appropriate sum in order to install a proper security system, and curation standards so that somebody else wouldn't walk off with the photos again.
Bingo Eric! Well put! It never ceases to amaze me that the "ratings vultures" forget that those photos of victims they gleefully publish for all to see were the husbands, wives, sons, and daughters of real people and were real people themselves. It's all the more appalling when the photos chosen seem to be the most gruesome ones they can find.
It's amazing in a day and age that is obsessed with "sensitivity" that anyone could be so callously insensitive to those left behind!