Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Brennan (2)

I love this photo – Lake Michigan and the blue sky meeting in the background, the flowering tree, and the way the light falls across the base of the monument just enough to read the name and date.

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My friend Diana was kind enough to go to Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in Cincinnati and pick up their 2011 calendar. (The calendar is free, but a $5 donation is suggested. I need to drop a check in the mail to them.) The concept behind the calendar was kind of interesting – the photographs were chosen from a competition pool created by the cemetery’s Facebook fans. A lot of the photos are visually well-composed and striking.

On the other hand, the overall effect is more like a calendar of photographs that just happened to be taken in a cemetery rather than a calendar about the cemetery. Monuments are rather static or at least very slow to erode, so the decision about which photos to include for which months seemed motivated more by what was happening with the grounds around the monuments – the photos for the winter months feature snow and ice, spring and summer have explosions of floral blossoms, and fall has the dramatic reds, oranges and yellows of changing leaves. In some photos, you almost can’t tell you are looking at a cemetery.

The calendar does include dates of planned events for the whole year, which would be great for a cemetery enthusiast in the local area. I don’t know if I will make a special trip down to southwest Ohio just for one of those events but who knows?

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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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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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Last weekend at Lake View Cemetery I experimented with some of the color settings on my camera. I haven’t done black and white photography in the past, but I have an appreciation for the different mood that black, white and grays can evoke, especially in a cemetery. So here are photographs I took of a few Lake View monuments in black and white.




Behind Burke Mausoleum

More informative posting when I get home from the weekend.

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Sometimes when I am doing cemetery photography, my aesthetic sense and my intellectual interest end up butting heads. I love the look of this photo:
Boston Massacre
It’s visually interesting – the sparse dapples of sunshine that have manged to slip past the shade tree’s branches to actually fall on the tombstone and flag make it look different. When I look through my old photographs from this trip to Boston, this still catches my eye.

But the shade and sunshine obscure the writing on the tombstone. Can’t tell what it is? It’s the marker for the five victims of the Boston Massacre and Christopher Snider, a young man who was shot two weeks before the event during an altercation between Loyalists and colonists sympathetic to the revolutionary cause. The stone is in the Old Granary Burial Ground in Boston. Someone has helpfully posted a more readable photo on Find-a-Grave.

I still enjoy the photo visually. I guess I’ll just have to make it to Boston again to take more photos…

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