Posts Tagged ‘cemetery photography’

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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I’ve been working so much on preparations for my vacation that I haven’t been to a cemetery to take photographs in a few weeks, and I’m really starting to miss it. For a while, I was going to a cemetery just about every weekend, even if it was just for an hour or two. The obvious reason to go so often is material – if I’m going to get this blog through the snowy northeast Ohio winter with regular posts, I have to go out and get photographs now. I’ll still be able to take photographs of large sculptures in the snow, but often the ice and snow will obscure inscriptions. But I also go for peace and quiet. I know that cities in some places can be dangerous (and there are a few around here I don’t visit alone), but I’ve never had any problems in a cemetery. Mostly I go and quietly wander around the stones, watching the birds and squirrels and admiring the stillness that I don’t find in many other places.

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