As we bump up against the eve of Halloween, I thought I would share a little known fact about me.
I LOVE cemeteries.
When I had time to pursue hobbies, I’d photograph them all the time, particularly while traveling. When most tourists are searching for famous landmarks, I’d be determining which graveyard I wanted to photograph. My preference is cemeteries a hundred years or older; I love the ornate family vaults, the history found on the headstones and the landscaped expanses of large urban cemeteries.
Cemeteries are mysteries cloaked in cryptic writing. By reading headstones and memorial markers you can determine if illness swept an area, who were the prominent citizens, or if there was a local tragedy. Rather than learning about the history from a book, each stone is unique, each individual has a name and the town’s history becomes personal.
I disagree with those who believe quiet and despondency must be the display of respect while in a cemetery. On the contrary, the park-like atmosphere begs for play and fun in a way that celebrates the people who have lived and had an impact on the world before us.
When I die and you visit my graveside, spend some time remembering what was good about me and celebrate that I lived. Dance, talk, laugh. Know that I will be celebrating having had you in my life as well.
Most of my graveyard photography is on film, so I have to scan the images to get them online. My Halloween Fotog Friday picture is a digital image I took while visiting the famous cemeteries of New Orleans. I love it because even though rust is beginning to take hold the ornate metal figurines continue to stretch towards the cotton ball clouds and blue sky. Here’s a larger version: