The Victorian era saw the birth and development of photography. It was a common practice for people to often take a photograph of a departed loved one as a way to remember them, to share with family members unable to be there for te goodbye, and to share with future generations a special person. The beautiful gifts of flowers, the casket, and the loved ones were captured on film. The gravesite, the cemetery and guests were captured as a memorial and memory of a very special and precious time. The practice began to loose favor after the 1940's but continued for many of the same reasons mentioned above.
Social attitudes shifted after the 1940's removing people from many of the attitudes taken as normal earlier and the practice was seen as too morbid or real for healthy grieving. Authorities are now revisiting that earlier decree and indicating anything that can help someone through their sorrow can be beneficial. These images - called Post-mortem photography, memorial portraiture, or memento mori - have a place in history and in family history. They tell us of an ancestors love and respect for a family member. Morever, they allow us to remember and honor someone who has gone before.
Memento Mori page link.