Archive for the ‘On Cemetery Photography’ Category

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I’m not sure that this photo really does this stone justice.  The artwork is crisp and beautifully rendered, but in the unseasonably warm and sunny weather last weekend, the thing that stopped me in my tracks was the sparkle.  The gold on the stone is not just a flatly applied color, but is textured, so that it catches the light and makes the stone glow.

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Christopher Busta-Peck is featuring some of my photography on the blog Cleveland Area History. If you’re interested in Cleveland history, I highly recommend you start following him.

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The Graveyard Detective shares more photos of the Blue Angel.

Sleeping Gardens shares photographs from a trip to the Taj Mahal.

Gravestoned shows us the simpler but still beautiful tombstone for Daniel Brobst.

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With my schedule lately, most of my “reading” of other cemetery blogs is really just skimming my Google Reader feed and stopping at whatever catches my eye – usually photographs. So here are some of the most interesting photographs that other cemetery bloggers have taken.

From a few months back, the Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay takes us to Oakland Cemetery under a blanket of snow.

Down south, we see the New Orleans Graveyard Rabbit’s photo of Holt Cemetery shrouded in fog.

Escape to the Silent Cities shows us a beautiful 1859 tombstone.

A Morbid Fascination lets us tag along on his trip to Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit.

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The Ancestors at Rest Graveyard Rabbit has a lovely photo of a tombstone from Cornwall surrounded by wildflowers and with ivy growing up the face of the stone itself.

In fact, the next stunning photo I found that I just had to link to was also from the same blogger and featured ivy-covered tombstones. This Graveyard Rabbit does not post as frequently as I do, but the blog includes some lovely photos of Cornish churchyards, so I encourage you to drop in and see some of them.

I love the capture that Irish Eyes JG managed to achieve here.

And finally, a winter wonderland photo post

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This is my 3rd post on my most viewed photos. I find it very enlightening to see what other people find interesting, and I also remind myself that more people would probably find more of my photos if I would keep up with labeling them.

The 7th most viewed cemetery photo in my Flickrstream is the breaking point I’ve been wondering about – up until this point, the grave markers have been famous because of what or who they commemorated, rather than for the markers themselves. And as I suspected, the first famous marker to get hits without necessarily marking the burial place of a particularly famous person is the Haserot Angel.

Haserot Angel in Snow

This statue has to be on of Lake View’s most famous, and it is only natural that my photo of it would receive a lot of views.

The next most viewed are back to famous people. First we have a monument to Rebecca Nurse, executed in Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

Rebecca Nurse grave

Next is the grave of famous suffragist Susan B. Anthony, a scan of a photo taken on an old cheap camera that isn’t really even readable.

Susan B. Anthony's Grave

Rounding out the top ten is the marker for Eliot Ness, whose ashes were scattered at Lake View Cemetery in 1997.

Ness Monument

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The internet is a strange place. People come looking for all sorts of things, and occasionally they stumble on my blog and photographs. About once a week I check on the stats for the blog to see what brings people here, and I probably look at my Flickr stats about once a month to see what photos are getting the most views.

For reasons that I have yet to fathom, my most viewed photo on Flickr is a fairly grainy shot of my grandfather’s hunting themed birthday cake that probably predates my birth. But what I wanted to look at today was my most viewed cemetery photos.

The most viewed cemetery photo of all (4th most viewed of all photos) is one from the Nurse family cemetery at the Rebecca Nurse homestead in Danvers, Massachusetts. It lists the names of the people who testified on Rebecca Nurse’s behalf during the Salem Witch Trials.

Salem Monument

This makes a lot of sense to me, as the Salem Witch trials elicit a lot of interest even today. My 4th most viewed cemetery photo is the stone cenotaph for Rebecca Nurse at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial.

Rebecca Nurse stone

Number two is my rather poor photo of the stone for Helen Pitts Douglass from Rochester, New York. I’m guessing it gets the hits it does because Frederick Douglass, her husband, is mentioned in the description.

Grave of Helen Pitts Douglass

The third and fifth most viewed cemetery photos are for Confederate general’s graves in the same town: Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

Stonewall Jackson's grave

Robert E. Lee's tomb

These photos, poor as many of them are, have received well over 100 views each. I’m going to revisit this again, because I am curious about what photos of mine that aren’t of famous people’s graves get visitors.

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Flickr, where you will notice most of my photos are hosted, is running a special – if you purchase or renew a pro account, you will receive a code valid for a free photobook from Snapfish. Of course, you have to pay any relevant taxes and shipping.  I renewed my account, since I am very pleased with their service.

Where do you come into all of this?  Well, I’ve decided that my photobook will be some of my best cemetery shots, as soon as I can decide what those are.  So if you have some spare time, head over to my Cemetery collection on Flickr and tell me what you think I should put in my photobook.

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Considering how many photographs I take, I’ve had people look through my cemetery photos and ask why I chose to photograph a particular monument. Well, the reasons vary. For one thing, thanks to the innovations of digital photography, it’s not likely that I will run out of “film.” I have a 1 TB external hard drive to take care of that storage problem. Usually the only limitations on my cemetery photography are my own stamina, the cemetery’s gate hours, and the amount of juice left in my camera batteries.

In a very small cemetery, like West Herrick or Plains Pioneer Cemetery, I will often take the time to meticulously photograph every single inscription. I will do the same in a very old cemetery, for preservation purposes if nothing else. In a larger but not unmanageable cemetery, I often tackle things section by section, carefully walking down the rows (if there are any) and photographing anything that catches my fancy. It could be the shape of the monument, the color of the stone, a funerary symbol or the inscription. I am attuned to unusual names, foreign languages, epitaphs, and significant years in local and national history. Certain kinds of funerary art draw me in: lambs, porcelain portraits, angels, and Celtic crosses. I don’t think a lot, I just push the button and the shutter goes click. I can sort it all out later when I get home.

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