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Multiple Years / Postmortem Photography
It seems a little bit creepy today--well, actually it seems extremely creepy by modern standards--but it was quite common in the late 19th century to photograph your loved ones in lifelike poses after they had died! Photography was generally very expensive in the 19th century. Often families had no photographs of loved ones while they were alive. Accordingly, as part of a funeral ritual, the recently deceased person would be dressed, posed in a very lifelike position--much like the gentleman in this example--and his/her image was preserved for posterity. Frequently they were posed alongside siblings and parents as part of a family portrait. Because of the slow shutter speed of cameras in those days, dead people were actually the best subjects for photographers as they were guaranteed to stay still. Postmortem photography was surprisingly commonplace in Europe and North America (especially of dead children because childhood mortality rates were very high). It remained quite common until photography became cheaper and families were more likely to have photos of their relatives taken while they were still in the land of the living.