I know that sounds a bit morbid, but it's a perfectly good question and one you should answer before a surviving loved one allows publication of a photo you particularly hate or misses one you particularly like. How will they know unless you tell them!
I'm brought back to this subject after regularly going online to read obituaries from places I lived long ago. Seems like a lot of my peers are passing on to that ever-moving caravan, which my long-ago boss Oliver Emmerich often referenced.
Obituary photosare at least as interesting sometimes as the bride-groom or engagement photos we newspapers publish.
Lately, I've seen some interesting ones.
Take, for example, the photo of the elderly woman who's sitting at her kitchen table with what appears to be a cup of coffee before her. Sure, it could be tea or whiskey with a splash of milk, like my Uncle Mike used to do.
Then there's the photo of the guy quite obviously in the cockpit of an airplane with a headset and a microphone close to his lips. Makes you wonder if this one was taken before or after death, given the cotton-ball sky behind him.
People in hats, that's always a good category.
Fedoras, berets, cowboy hats, chapeaux appropriately cocked to one side. You pick 'em. I love 'em.
Long-dusty photos of the now-deceased in military gear often are used.
That reminds me, as I've written, about old Dr. Brumfield in McComb when I worked at the paper there.
He chose the photo, which was from World War II because he was just post-young and handsome. We acknowledged its age with a small cutline that said "Dr. Robert Brumfield, in a file photo."
As I've also said, I have picked out my own last-memorial shot from 1968, so readers can say, "Now, look at Patsy. Wasn't she just the cutest thing?"
Perhaps I'm channeling my grandmother, the beautiful and willful Rosalie Dial, but I'm convinced the women in my family all want to be remembered as about 20 and adorable.
Here at the Daily Journal, when prominent folks pass away, we hope we have a decent photograph of them in our system, but that isn't always the case.
Earlier this week, with the passing of U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr. of Cleveland, it became painfully obvious that virtually nowhere in cyberspace did there exist a photo of the good judge.
So, the next day, I emailed the court clerk's office to ask for color, digital images of all our fine jurists. I'm not expecting any of them to make any drastic locale changes any time soon, but we newsfolk must be prepared for as much inevitability as possible.
Which brings me back to my original point: Even if you don't think you're ready to meet your maker, be ready to have a good photo published.
If you don't have one, go get one taken professionally or by a family member.
Let's have your last entry in the paper a good one for everybody.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at email@example.com.