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Sat, Jan 08


Ocean Springs

Photography: Language of the Dead

Venture into the spirit realm with photographer Euphus Ruth and explore the history behind photography and material culture regarding the afterlife.

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Photography: Language of the Dead
Photography: Language of the Dead

Time & Location

Jan 08, 2022, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Ocean Springs, 510 Washington Ave, Ocean Springs, MS 39564, USA

About The Event

Photographer Euphus Ruth will demonstrate the method of wet plate collodion photography invented in 1851, the method of photography used during the Civil War period and later. He will present on the history of early photography - including its use to document the dead on the battlefield - and discuss how post-mortem photographs of family members became some of the most cherished keepsakes during the era. 

Ruth will also discuss how this historical art form became an important piece of the 19th century spiritualist movement, integral to seances and the search for connection to the world of the dead aka the underworld. He will incorporate personal experiences that contextualize his own fascination with cemeteries, funeral practices, and the macabre, showcasing his artwork and a few of his collectibles relating to the Language of the Dead as a way to generate participant conversation.

Free event sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council. Pre-registration is required. Masks are required for all participants.

In coordination with his talk and demonstration, we will have our Language of the Dead Pop-Up Exhibition: Collodion Plates and Mortuary Photography from the Collection of Euphus Ruth on view from 10AM-4PM. This selection from Euphus Ruth's personal collection will be on display in the front gallery of the Art Cottage across from the Museum. 

Euphus Ruth's expertise with collodion prints has led him to a fascination and study of the history of mortuary photography. Included in the pop-up exhibition are personal collodion plates, examples of post-mortem photography, an antique embalmers kit, and other examples collected by Ruth over his career. This all-day exhibition will allow you to leisurely traverse the artist's work that is inspired by, "the land and things old, forgotten or remembered found there."

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