Created By: ParadiscaCorbasiSeptember 9, 2011 Last Edited By: ParadiscaCorbasiNovember 9, 2014
Troped

Funereal Photo

Memorial photo; often but not always at a funeral.

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Trope
The Funereal Photo is a visual media trope, seen in Film, Live Action TV, and more often, but not always, in animation with a serious or adult bent.

In story, it's usually a case of:

  • The body was too mangled for an open-casket
  • They Never Found The Body
  • The body was cremated
  • The body was destroyed in some other fashion

Meta-wise, it's kinda creepy to make an actor portray themselves as a corpse and impractical to ask them to lie deathly still in a casket for as long as it will take to properly film the scene of the funeral. It's also impractical to do a full body mannequin and cast of the actor's face for the corpse when the budget can be better spent on other things.

The trope in practice: there's a wake or funeral for a character who is confirmed or believed dead. Lacking a body to display (or because the last wishes of the deceased are being honored), the casket is closed. But to give mourners a last look at their lost person -- a large photo is erected on an easel, or hung from a wall.

If those left behind are not willing or able to let go, and want something tangible to hang onto the memory -- or their religious and cultural mores do not permit an open casket funeral -- a Shrine To The Fallen may be erected instead.

The Funereal Photo is actually a common custom in Japan.

NOTE: I am in the middle of a move. once settled in the new place, I will launch, sometime after Apr 1.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Film
  • Armageddon puts a spin on the trope. Instead of a funeral, the photo memorial easels for Harry, Max, and Gruber --all of whom died in space -- appear the wedding of Grace and A.J. They both considered the lost roughnecks father figures.

Literature
  • Commonplace of a necessity in the Newsflesh universe. Cremation is the common and preferred method for dealing with the remains of the dead since even a corpse's blood can start an outbreak.

Live Action TV
  • Im In The Band: Hip Hop, the cat belonging to the girl who has a crush on Tripp, has died and there's an easel with his photo. Derek Jupiter is his usual vapid self, and makes many disparaging remarks about Hip Hop -- though he is speaking of the style of music -- much to the horror of the grieving pet owner.
  • Jen's "funeral service" from The IT Crowd episode "The Haunting of Bill Crouse." Video here.
  • Torchwood: Miracle Day ends with funerals around the world, many of which have photo easels erected of the deceased due to Category 1.
  • In Scrubs, we see a picture of Dr. Cox's brother on display at his funeral, confirming that he died from his cancer. What is sad about this is that during the entire episode, Dr. Cox's brother followed him around, helping him with his problems, only for us to find out that in the end, the brother was never actually there.

Truth In Television
  • The display of a photo of the deceased at a funeral is common in Japan.
  • A Russian hockey team was killed in a plane crash in 2011, so their photos were placed in the lineup as a memorial.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • September 9, 2011
    shimaspawn
  • September 10, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Common in Japan, they don't really do open casket there, they have a picture of the person and pray and light incense at the picture (like a shrine).
  • September 10, 2011
    shimaspawn
  • September 10, 2011
    SKJAM
    Done recently for that Russian hockey team, instead of the normal team lines facing each other at the start of the game, the Russians were represented by photos.
  • October 20, 2011
    Kurtulmak
    Anime & Manga:
    • In Yu Gi Oh, Maximillian Pegasus keeps a portrait of he painted his wife Cecelia before her death and is talks to it in a few scenes.

    I wish I could remember some of the other examples from that YKTTW. It was called "Portrait of Remembrance." Too bad it's been wiped from the internet as far as I can tell.
  • October 21, 2011
    UglyShirts
    Jen's "funeral service" from The IT Crowd episode "The Haunting of Bill Crouse." Video here.
  • November 20, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Looks like we've hit Rule Of Three. Launching in 24 hours unless there are any objections.
  • February 26, 2012
    shimaspawn
    This was never launched and it could use a few more examples, and a better name.

    Photo At A Funeral? Photo In Place Of Casket?
  • February 26, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Yeah, I had computer problems. I know I've seen it a lot more than I see examples to account for it here.
  • February 26, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Well, part of the problem is you all ready have bad examples with the current name. The anime one has nothing to do with funerals or the description. Just the name.
  • February 27, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Feel free to suggest another name. Or a better description.
  • February 28, 2012
    shimaspawn
    ^ I did. The description is fine. People have just added a lot of examples that don't fit the trope because the name is bad. Photo At A Funeral, & Photo In Place Of Casket were my suggestions for a trope name.

    The biggest issue is that people seem to be using this for "Any picture of a dead person".
  • February 28, 2012
    chicagomel
    I want to say CSI did this at Warrick's funeral, but I'm not positive. Anyone know for sure? (it would be logical, given the damage to his throat from the undersheriff's first shot.)

    btw the title needs a tweak...it's got an extra E in 'funeral'.
  • February 29, 2012
    shimaspawn
    That's because funereal is the adjective form of funeral. So this is the grammatically correct version of the title.

    funereal - adjective - 1. of or suitable for a funeral.
  • March 1, 2012
    lebrel
    You might want to point out that this is standard funerary custom in Japan, and thus in anime/manga (a large photo is normally displayed on an altar during the service, and a smaller one permanently in the family's home altar). I kinda like Funereal Photo Display, or just Funereal Photo; I think people will be OK with using it for memorial services too.
  • March 1, 2012
    shimaspawn
    ^ Smaller permanent one is Shrine To The Fallen
  • March 1, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Shrine to the fallen is noted as related to the trope. So Funereal Photo Display works for everybody?
  • March 2, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Works for me.
  • March 8, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Ready to launch, then? Any other thoughts, comments, suggestions?
  • March 9, 2012
    Aries
    • In Scrubs, we see a picture of Dr. Cox's brother on display at his funeral, confirming that he died from his cancer. What is sad about this is that during the entire episode, Dr. Cox's brother followed him around, helping him with his problems, only for us to find out that in the end, the brother was never actually there.
  • March 28, 2012
    zarpaulus
    There's only one "e" in "Funeral".

    Webcomics
    • In the alternate timeline of Schlock Mercenary Captain Tagon's funeral had a photo and an empty casket. As his body had been vaporized by plasma weaponry.
  • March 28, 2012
    lebrel
    Funereal is the adjectival form, as explained above. So that the trope is not specifically restricted to funerals themselves.
  • March 29, 2012
    Arivne
    If this isn't to be limited to funerals the Laconic should be changed, as it specifically says that it occurs at a funeral.
  • March 8, 2014
    Skylite
    I am the troper formerly known as Paradiscacorbasi. I moved. I also changed usernames (paradiscacorbasi is a long name and hard to remember the proper spelling). And then I forgot about this trope, but watching a movie mentioned above reminded me of it.

    Shimaspawn was a big help in getting the trope refined and ready to go. But given it's had years to percolate now, I thought I'd do a last call for more examples before it's ready to launch properly.

  • March 8, 2014
    DRCEQ
    • Played For Laughs in Super Mario RPG, where Mario takes part in a giant photo op for a wedding in Marrymore. The photographer tells him to smile. It's a wedding photo, not a funeral!
  • March 8, 2014
    GovernorExplosion
    Dangan Ronpa does this whenever a student gets killed. A photo is displayed in their place at the trial for the rest of the game.
  • March 9, 2014
    Boston
    From "The Green Fields of France" (also called ""Willie Mc Bride"): Or are you just a stranger without a name Enclosed behind some glass-pane In an old photograph, battered and stained And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?
  • March 9, 2014
    DAN004
    Fix the title plz?
  • March 10, 2014
    PistolsAtDawn
    ^title is correct, see above, this is the adjective form
  • March 10, 2014
    DAN004
    ^... Source?
  • March 10, 2014
    Boston
    While "funereal" may be technically correct (and DAN 004, try dictionary.com for starters), it's also going to be easily confused with "Funeral Photo." So I suggest "Memorial Photograph" or "Photo Shrine."
  • November 9, 2014
    Skylite
    Jeepers I never launched this? Time to fix that.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable