Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Viewing

On Monday we had a viewing for dad. For those of you who do not know what a viewing is (new term to me also), they place your relative in a room in their casket as they will appear in their funeral.

Dad looked quite good, quite like himself. I have been to many funerals where the person who passed looks nothing like they did in real life. Dad looked somewhat like did in person. His face was full, he wore his glasses, his colour was a bit off from all the makeup. Dad was dressed in a beautiful blue suit, and he had on a blue and orange tie that mom gave him as a first gift when they were still engaged (hankie also!). Dad had kept the tie all these years and will wear it forever now.

The family was there, it was sad and solemn, I could not believe my father was in a coffin. Somehow none of it still felt real. We spent some time taking pictures. I had brought the 5x7 with me and decided to go ahead and use it. I took 6 pictures of dad lying in his coffin with small and large compositional differences. Before dad passed away I asked him "Do you want me to photograph you when your in your coffin?" He told me "Yes, well a few."

It was so strange because for years I have dreaded the moment that I would be photographing dad in his coffin with a view camera, and that moment had finally arrived. I might use one of those pictures in Rosebud as a finishing shot. Dad was happy his story was going to be told again, and I want to tell it properly, with compassion, to its conclusion.