Crafting Beauty From Death

Crafting Beauty From Death

This Harlem funeral home director will put a smile on your face that will make you look better than when you were alive. (MSNBC)

Open casket funerals are very much a tradition in the U.S. and family members want their deceased loved ones to look good for their final goodbyes.

Isaiah Owens, owner and founder of Owens Funeral Home in New York, says he’s the one you’ll want to have bury you. He’s the guy who puts a smile on your face and everyone in Harlem knows that.

Owen transforms dead bodies back to their healthy looks with the help of techniques very much like plastic surgery. “Liquid tissue” (similar to Botox ) is injected into a person’s face to remove wrinkles, and the deceased’s makeup, hair and nails can all be re-created in the funeral home.

This audio slideshow presented by MSNBC provides behind-the-scene views of the mortician’s craft. A clever time-lapse sequence shows the transformation of an ashen, lifeless body to a beautifully dressed and groomed body ready for public viewing.


Length: 4:47

Photographer and Audio Reporter: Gianni Cipriano
Producers: Gianni Cipriano, Meredith Birkett
Music Performed by Isaiah Owens


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