The Man In This Photo Is Dead. Here’s Why He’s Sitting Around Playing Dominoes
This trend is way more common than anyone thought.
During the Victorian era, British aristocrats with serious financial resources developed a strange (and to modern eyes, morbid) tradition of taking post-mortem, posed photos with the recently deceased. That tradition faded away, but in some places, it’s not entirely, well, dead.
One recent example: Río Piedras, Puerto Rico resident Jomar Aguayo Collazo, photographed doing some of his favorite things after he was shot and killed in a bar a few days after his 23rd birthday, the Mirrorreports.
The Mirror reported that shortly before his funeral, Aguayo’s mother “decided to give her son a decent send off by allowing him to play dominos and drink in his corner one last time.” As dance music played, Aguayo’s family got to sit with him one more time.
As Fox News Latino reported in 2014, this resurrection of posed, post-mortem photos has been a (somewhat controversial) thing in Puerto Rico since at least 2008, and some even request such a display:
Angel Luis “Pedrito” Pantojas Medina was 24 years old and belonged to an urban youth subculture in San Juan, rife with guns, drugs and a short life span. He had always told his family that he wouldn’t go lying down and wanted people to forever see him on his feet, even at his funeral. So when Pedrito’s body was found in his underwear and under a bridge shot ten times in the back and twice in the face, his family honored his wishes.
It isn’t entirely isolated to the island Commonwealth, though. As the New York Post reported in 2014, Ohio man Billy Standley’s dying wish was that he be buried on his Harley, in a clear casket. While they admitted to the Post that Standley was “a quirky man,” his family fulfilled his wishes.
We’re not sure post-mortem photographs like these need to catch on any more than they have —there’s only so much morbidity a grieving family can take — but at least with Billy Standley, we kind of get the desire to ride your kickass Harley one last time.
Photos by Alvin Baez / Reuters / Landov