Once taboo, funeral pics gain acceptance

Once taboo, funeral pics gain acceptance
A professional photographer was paid $1,500 to document the wake of Ms Lim's (standing) grandfather. She wanted photos as a form of remembrance.

It was a sombre affair, like any other Buddhist funeral service - wooden tables draped with plastic sheets, paper plates laden with peanuts and sweets, and, of course, an altar.

But in one corner was a man armed with a camera, snapping away at the family and friends of the dead person.

No, it was not the funeral of a high-profile individual and the man was not intruding.

He was, in fact, a professional funeral photographer, paid $1,500 to document the wake, a curious engagement even in this day and age, said funeral directors.

Joni Lim, the dead man's granddaughter, said: "I wanted to remember the occasion, to have photos as a form of remembrance of my grandfather. Everyone has to depart some day, so why not have photos and videos of the funeral as a keepsake?"

Ms Lim, 29, a property developer, said that the photographer's presence also lightened the mood, with friends commenting that it had seemed like a party.

Such photo assignments, while still uncommon, are slowly picking up in Singapore.

Sng Meng Lee, the photographer at the wake of Ms Lim's grandfather, went full steam ahead into the business of funeral photography last year, after starting out part-time in 2011. He was inspired by the warmth and kindness showered on him at his own father's funeral, and felt it was a shame to let those moments go unrecorded.

Said Mr Sng, 36: "My father was, in my opinion, such a noble person. He shouldn't leave this world just like that, I thought."

Hoping that others felt the same way, the self-taught photographer approached a funeral home in 2011 and asked if it could recommend him to customers who might be interested. The response was poor at first, but business turned around a few months later, after people had seen his work.

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