THE WEEK: Dec 5-9.


Photographing the Dead: The History of Postmortem Photography from The Burns Collection and Archive
Postmortem photography, photographing a deceased person, was a common practice in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These photographs, from the beginning of the practice until now, are special mementos that hold deep meaning for mourners through visually “embalming” the dead. Although postmortem photographs make up the largest group of nineteenth-century American genre photographs, until recent years they were largely unseen and unknown. Dr. Burns recognized the importance of this phenomenon in his early collecting when he bought his first postmortem photographs in 1976. Since that time he has amassed the most comprehensive collection of postmortem photography in the world and has curated several exhibits and published three books on the subject: the Sleeping Beauty series. Tonight, Dr. Burns will speak about the practice of postmortem photography from the 19th century until today and share hundreds of images from his collection.

first book–brooklyn is a nonprofit organization dedicated to getting new books to children in need.  join us tonight for their first annual holiday party and fundraiser.

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They say he’s gone completely by Leif Solem.

They say he’s gone completely off the rails
or what’s the new favorite?
Right: out where the buses don’t run.
It was pride once — back in his twenties
chasing girls, always ready to pounce — the ink of him
indelible in each and then on to another,
showing off, wasting his promise on the glimmer
of aimless days on the Lower East Side.
Gone off completely, not even rhyming anymore, not even
English really, no syntax, just a mushy concentrate to push
the drawer closed over along with all the old
black & whites, there to ripen and grow that sepia
patina like a skin of fuzzy mold.

They say too he’s out West somewhere, who cares where,
maybe the Cabinet Mountains or the Sound, switched to bourbon
maybe, ego receding, cataracts on the memories
of the good old days like moss on a pond, the rowboat rotting
by the dock, but still that same smile, that hint
of the boyhood back when spray paint stuck to train cars,
those old screeching IRT red birds, and the sun shone on the brick
buildings up by Columbia.They say he’s gone completely off
but maybe he’s happy.

Leif Solem was born in New York City. He lives in Spokane, Washington, where he plays music on street corners when the weather permits.