Saying Goodbye

A friend asked me if she could hire me to photograph her brother's funeral service, to be held at a national cemetery.

Of course not.  I would be there with my camera as her friend and to honor the service her brother gave to our country.

Knoxville National Cemetery

Knoxville National Cemetery

While the images from the service are for the family, I will share the one above, that moment when a lone bugler plays "Taps" in a farewell salute.

Is it odd to have someone take pictures at a funeral?  Not at all.  Nor is it morbid.  Why should "notable" people have their funerals preserved in images but not our own loved ones, who meant so much more to us than some celebrity?

Who will be there?  I once photographed the funeral of a friend's father where his son used a giant 4-foot Rosary at the vigil, and had all of the grandchildren come forward to help him.  One of the deceased's grandchildren was a 4-year-old girl.  She probably won't have memories of the event, but she will have an image of her holding the Rosary beads and helping "say goodbye" to Grandpa.  The images of a funeral are for those who cannot be there or who cannot remember it - but it is part of their history, too.

And how often have you heard from some relative at a funeral, "It's a shame we only get to see each other on sad occasions!"  If you have family together, get pictures of them, especially if some have come a great distance.

Photographs are taken to preserve history and/or to honor a person.  As such, they should be as much a part of life events as a wedding or a graduation.