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photographing a scattering cereomny

Should I take photos at a scattering ashes ceremony?

The rise and rise of capturing every moment of our lives appears un-reversible, from the moment a new baby comes into the world they are captured in almost every aspect of their life. However there still appears to be certain taboos: funerals are an obvious example. As someone recently expressed to me: why would anyone want to look back at such a sad time? Yet there are funeral photographers who are employed to capture the occasion, as often these events are the only time a family comes together and therefore present a valuable opportunity recording family and friends.

A scattering ceremony (#4thceremony) is similar in many ways but arguably ‘once removed’, a scattering ceremony has the potential to have a more celebratory perceptive on someone’s life, loves, passions and achievements conducted after the initial raw grief has subsided.

So the dilemma (or reluctance) therefore is perhaps less, a family occasion with sadness obviously, but also positive reflection.

Personally I think it is a good idea to take photos (I did so myself and I am pleased I did), but I would suggest not everything needs to be captured if you don’t want it to be. I would consider the two most important subject matters to be the guests and the location. The physical act of scattering may be too personal or intimate and not necessarily desirable. The wonderful thing about pictures as opposed to video is that they create a scene and a mental image complimenting the power of the mind to project a memory in the way we wish.

Which brings me around to a final point, what about video? Again this a personal preference but I am not so keen, particularly of the act of scattering itself, I am not sure I see the point, but then again we are all different. However it does have one advantage and this does not come from the imagines it comes from the words, the recording of voices and emotions are powerful at such a poignant time. So maybe capturing post event reflections at the scene could be desirable.

Finally I would like to undermine my whole stance by saying it is not for anyone to tell you what to do at your ceremony. It is for you to do decide what you wish – photograph don’t photograph video don’t video – it is your choice.

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