I remember I once expressed a little wish to have some of our (i.e., the alive ones) photos framed, so that they could adorn the walls of my house. My grandmother was opposed to this idea and forbade me to talk about such things.
To be framed was a privilege of the dead.
Another incident I remember is, I hung a poster of Leonardo DiCaprio above a shelf in my bedroom. Then I put plastic flowers (flowers were a bad idea, as I later realized), plastic hearts and little Archies teddies on the shelf. Now I must mention, in this particular picture, DiCaprio’s hair appeared to be a very deep shade of brown, which probably led my grandmother to believe he was Indian (possibly a classmate!) because I had an awkward conversation with her when she asked me “How did he die?” (*laughing as I type this*) and (*suspicious voice*) “Was he special to me?” Oh yes, so special! But, believe me, an affair with him in my grandmother’s imagination – still better than him not being aware of my sorry existence! (I took down that poster, nevertheless. *wiped a little tear from the corner of my eye*)
I have digressed from the topic with that irrelevant paragraph above (but I just had to tell that story!) Why do we really hang pictures of those who are no more?
To remember them? Yes.
To remind ourselves that they were once a part of our lives but not anymore? Could be, but that borders a bit on self-torture.
Or is it because society expects us to worship those ancestors who are no more, because, you know, they are your elders, and they may be dead, but are watching over you and if you don’t respect those lovely, rusted (possibly with iron nails sticking out, that may cause tetanus if not handled properly!) frames – no, you will not be haunted, but – you will be reborn as a worm in a pig’s belly!
Now as my reader(s?) know, I love slinging mud at society and it’s baseless (often laughter-inducing) rules. So obviously, I am gonna pull at this last reason.
How does it matter how you treat a photograph of someone who is dead, when you couldn’t treat them right when they were alive?