From another funeral photographer, who plies his trade in Texas, I got the idea of interviewing myself. I hope you like my questions and answers, and I hope if you have a question of your own, you will feel free to ask it.
Q. Why do you enjoy taking pictures at funerals?
A. I don't enjoy it so much as I value it. And I value funeral photography because I know that regardless of how bereft people may feel at the time, and how unable they may be to cope with some aspects of the situation, they will be happy later that they chose to have someone there with perhaps not so much of an emotional stake in the event, for the sole purpose of taking pictures.
When there is a death, time slows and people step out of their daily routines: some to plan and grieve, others to support and condole. There is a certain beauty to the protocols of these carefully orchestrated times. Pictures of the ceremony and respect attendant on the final celebration of a loved one's life have a poignancy and a solemn grandeur that I find very moving.
Also there is the tendency for these periods of grief and loss -- whether expected or sudden -- to morph into impromptu family reunions, which can be freighted with so much unanticipated joy. Those times should be documented, because they will never come again in exactly the same way.
Q. Don't you think it's morbid to take pictures of dead people?
A. Whether I think it's morbid is beside the point; I don't take pictures of the deceased unless the family specifically wish it. At their request, I photograph the deceased as discreetly and tactfully as possible. When delivering the pictures the family have purchased, I remind them that they will come across the picture(s) as they look at their book or watch their DVD.