Should you be taking selfies at a funeral?
Questions to consider before taking selfies at a funeral.
Losing a loved one is a grave and emotionally overwhelming experience. Funeral services are mindful of this grimness and hence, they are solemn events. Some people cry to express their grief, some lose themselves in work and some take selfies. The last aspect is the contentious one where some believe selfies to be insensitive and tasteless, others consider them a useful tool to share a last connection with the deceased. Here are a few questions to help you decide before taking a selfie:
1. Does the funeral location have a policy on this?
Try to find out the funeral etiquette policy of the place which is hosting the funeral.
2. How close were you to the deceased? How would the family feel if they saw your picture?
Photography at funerals should be done keeping in mind the feelings of the closest family members of the deceased.
3. Is this an especially somber funeral or a joyous celebration of life?
Some cultures keep singing and dancing as part of the funeral services, and in those moments, it is appropriate to take a selfie. However, during somber events like reading a eulogy, burial, or wake, it’s best to keep that phone in your pocket.
4. Are there any religious or cultural considerations?
Some religions and cultures forbid photography at solemn events like the funeral, whereas some cultures find it acceptable. It’s best to behave in accordance with the beliefs of the deceased’s family.
Funeral Etiquette: What To Do Before, During And After A Funeral
Titan Casket offers an informative guide on funeral etiquette, with advice on what to do (and what not to do) before, during and after the event.
The times when it may be appropriate to take selfies at a funeral.
1. The deceased was your immediate family member.
In this case, perhaps, a selfie might be appropriate if you feel it can help you process the loss.
2. You are reunited with your family after a long time.
Typically, entire families gather during funerals for support. It can be a rare occasion for all the members to be at the same spot, and hence, if everyone agrees, a family selfie can be taken.
3. If the cultural or religious custom of the deceased permits it.
In some cultures, taking pictures of the deceased is a significant tradition during the funeral. The picture is used to mark an important event in the family’s history.
4. At a living funeral
Some people host their funerals while they are still away, to celebrate their life and their loved ones. At such an event, it’s perfectly okay to take selfies.
The times when you must not take selfies at a funeral.
1. If you weren’t close to the deceased or aren’t a part of their family.
In this case, taking selfies at a funeral would be extremely inappropriate.
2. If you feel it might offend the deceased’s family.
This is something you have to decide based on the family’s private life, and if the death was in old age due to natural causes of sudden and tragic death.
3. If it is against the religious or cultural beliefs of the deceased or their family
Taking a selfie in this case would be a sign of grave disrespect towards the deceased’s beliefs.
4. With an open casket
It is almost never okay to click a picture with the deceased’s body, specially with an open casket, unless it’s part of a tradition or you’re a really close family member.
5. During poignant moments such as eulogies or the burial
Eulogies and burials are grave moments during a funeral service. You should be respectful during these moments and avoid selfies.
Is clicking regular pictures appropriate?
1. If the service is located in a beautiful place
Sometimes the funeral is held at the ocean or a mountain or any favorite spot of the deceased. In this case, it might be appropriate to click a picture.
2. If the family asks you to photograph
This is the easiest judgment call and you can offer to click pictures for the family. If you’re not sure, don’t take any pictures — use your best judgment. It’s better to be safe, than risk embarrassment or offense.