Episode 94: Dead Still: A Postmortem Photography and Crime Fiction Program

Postmortem images can cause quite a stir and for some it’s a fascination due to the disturbing subject. These photographs chronicle a family loss in a graphic manner. Often taken as a last attempt to capture an image of a loved one. There were photographers that specialized in the medium making the deceased as life-like as possible. These types of images were particularly popular during the Victorian period. 

Now imagine one of those photographers as a central character in a television series set in 1880s Dublin. I’ve watched the series Dead Still on Acorn TV.  Over six episodes the characters –a postmortem photographer, his assistant and niece as well as a police detective (interested in photos of crime scenes) track down a mysterious and gruesome photo album. There are plenty of adventures and misdirections. Viewer beware. There is one episode not suitable for younger viewers. I liked it enough to hope  for a second season. 

I had to find out the why and how of the show. What inspired the screenwriter to pick this topic for his script. For that I reached out to John Morton, one of the creators of the show. 

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About My Guest:

John is an actor, writer and filmmaker. He has written and directed a number of short films as well as the television series Dead Still. 

For the stage he has written the plays Taboo, War Of Attrition, Scratcher, Smitten and Heart Shaped Vinyl and co-wrote the historical plays The Hellfire Squad and The Roaring Banshees with Peter McGann. He also wrote the adaptation of Thomas Kilroy’s Booker prize nominated novel The Big Chapel which was a Best Production nominee at this years Irish Theatre Awards.

About Maureen Taylor:

Maureen is a frequent keynote speaker on photo identification, photograph preservation, and family history at historical and genealogical societies, museums, conferences, libraries, and other organizations across the U.S., London and Canada.  She’s the author of several books and hundreds of articles and her television appearances include The View and The Today Show (where she researched and presented a complete family tree for host Meredith Vieira).  She’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, Germany’s top newspaper Der Spiegel, American Spirit, and The New York Times. Maureen was recently a spokesperson and photograph expert for MyHeritage.com, an internationally known family history website and also writes guidebooks, scholarly articles and online columns for such media as Smithsonian.com. Learn more at Maureentaylor.com

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