dead man and a happy undertaker shrouding in morgue cemetery crematorium cremation


Death is part of life



My photo project describes how the deceased are taken care of in Sweden.

This site in Swedish - Denna sida på svenska


If we are able to imagine death as part of life it might be easier for us when our friends and relatives die. We might even face our own death in a more comfortable way.

With my photos I show how an undertaker works, how a cremation is done and how ashes are scattered in the Memorial grove or to the winds. I describe different ways to inter the ashes, how the shrouding, the removal to the mortuary and how a cremation is done.
Few of us know how our bodies are taken care of when we die. Today an undertaker is taking care of the duty that earlier was performed by the family.


Poems by Nancy Duci Denofio to some of my photos.


Cremation in Nepal dead death coffin photojournalism photo morgue cemetery crematorium cremation


My project Behind the Curtains of Death began many years ago visiting Nepal, and when I saw how relatives took care of a deceased person. The cremation was done on a river bank under the open sky and children were bathing next to the burning corpse. Death was a natural part of life. When I returned home I started to photograph and to study death and funerals in Sweden.

I have had lectures at medical schools, high schools and places where the staff faces the death or the relatives to dead people. Contact me if you have questions about my project or if you are interested to hear a lecture.


Children bathing by a cremation Nepal dead death coffin photojournalism photo journalism reportage morgue cemetery crematorium cremation undertaker coffin urn


I wondered why dying is such a taboo in the West. Why is it that we study conception in school but we don't know what happens to the dead body at the end of the cycle of life? Why don't we know how to arrange a funeral?
In the Swedish language I have found more than 20 synonyms and expressions for death and dying. I have found even more in English. If you know still more, please mail these to me and I will add them to the synonym list.

Photographs from this project has been published:

  •  The Nordic museum in Stockholm - at the exhibition "Traditions".
  •  The film "Våga tala om döden" ("Dare to talk about death.") Director: Göran Setterberg.
  •  The book "Den sista tjänsten" ("The last service") by Charlotta Reimersson.
  •  The Youth fair, Young-95, in Gävle, Sweden.




© Harry Peronius