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 My Thoughts on Cemetery Photography Gary Woodard

Photographing in Cemeteries

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    My Thoughts on Cemetery Photography

    Gary Woodard

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    This material is copyrighted and may be re-

    produced only with written approval of the

    author and photographer, Gary Woodard.

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    I get very passionate about certain

    genre of photography and cemetery

    photography is included in that. I

    should probably take more time to

    write this but the writing is not as im-

    portant as any passion that might rub

    off on the reader.

    Photographing in cemeteries can be

    an inspiring, emotional event or it can

    be another ho hum photographic ex-

    periencethe choice is yours.

    These are personal thoughts on taking

    photographs in cemeteries. They are

    not particularly erudite but they cover

    what I like to think of as a mindset

    that is appropriate for getting interest-

    ing cemetery photographs.

    They are not rules, just ideas.

    I am frequently accused of being

    preachy, I am. IMO, being passionate

    and attempting to share that passion is

    a good thing to do. I hope you agree.

    There are some double page spreads

    so set you page display to two up.


    Page 6

    All the photographs in this section have been taken

    since I posted to original piece on photographing in

    cemeteries to the GWs Discussion Blog.

    SECTION TWOPage 34

    The photographs in this section were the last photo-

    graphs that I took in a cemetery prior to the discussion

    on the blog.


    Page 78

    The photographs in this section were taken from several

    months ago to two years ago on various forays into

    cemetery photography.

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    There is no rules about photographing in cemeteries but I amgoing to share a few of my thoughts on the subject..

    Most cemeteries are well landscaped, well maintained so it ispossible simply to do landscape photographs that include tomb-stones. Some of the tombstones are extremely ornate so youcould simply document the work of the stone carver. It is veryeasy to do very ordinary photographs in a cemetery, but why?

    There is another mindset that I believe can raise your photo-graphs in cemeteries above the levels mentioned above and Iwould like to address some of my ideas on that subject.

    These ideas revolve around what cemeteries are, depositories ofthe dead, and what is required to gain permanent access to acemetery, dying.

    I believe that we all find death interesting. We have experiencedit vicariously; we realize that we will eventually experience it

    fully. So what does death mean to us as individuals? It means aloss. Sometimes that loss is a parent, a relative, a friend, a lover,

    a notable figure. We are affected emotionally by such loss. So Ithink it is possible to say that cemeteries are places that we re-late to emotionally. That is why I feel that we need to approachcemetery photography differently from how we would approachphotographing a landscape, a flower, a piece of sculptureallof these things we can find and photograph in cemeteries. If weapproach this subject matter the same as we would were weoutside a cemetery we miss much of the emotional content that

    cemeteries allow us to pursue photographically.

    Lets start with the strongest emotional content firstour ownmortality. Where could you be better reminded that our tenurehere is at best much too short than among the graves of thedead. Look around, every stone that you see marks the end of a

    life. You, also, one day will likely lie beneath such a stone.How do you feel about your own mortality? Do your pretendagainst all logic that you will never face the inevitable, manydo. Do you welcome it strengthened by your faith? Between thetwo there are many valid degrees of acceptance. Does the

    thought cause dread or even fear? Would you ever considergoing into a cemetery to see what can you find to express yourpersonal feeling about your own mortality, your own death, thefeelings you have about death? That is one approach to ceme-tery photography.

    As a suggestion, approach the grave as though it were yourown, what is there that you would want to see? Is the life spanengraved on the stone long or shorthow does that make you

    feel? Do you take comfort that the person buried there had along and hopefully satisfying life? Are you saddened when thelife is obviously cut off in its prime or before there was a realopportunity to experience life? Are there flowers on the graveand what do the flowers say? Are they fresh or are they fadedand in disarray? You might expect flowers on the grave ofsomeone that is recently deceased but how do you feel whenyou see flowers on the grave of a person that has been dead formany years?

    Do you ever have fears that you will not be remembered, thatyour life here has meant so little. All but a precious few will

    vanish forever into obscurity. If not almost immediately, surelywithin a couple of generations. Not only will your life end, butmost likely you will no longer be remembered. How does thatmake you feel? Is that something that you can show in your

    photographs in a cemetery.

    When I am photographing in a cemetery I almost always take

    photographs that say how soon we are forgotten. Is that disturb-ing? It isnt for me but I do find it sad that there is such evi-dence everywhere we look. Sure, those that achieve public famewill live on in historythe precious few. A few will still behonored by future generations of family. The rest will havegraves, that if marked at all, will tumble forgotten into the dust.

    What do the flowers on the graves signify to you? Are theysigns of grief, longing, love? Do you see them as honoring thedeceased? What about other artifacts that you find on graves,toys, sea shells, stones, vases, pieces of artdo you ever con-sider the significance, the symbolism of these artifacts?

    Do you have literary works that you draw upon when you con-

    sider your own mortality, the Bible, prose, poetry? If so takethose works with you if only in mind when you are photograph-ing. I personally draw a lot of my inspiration in cemeteries fromthe poets. Bryants Thanatopsis and Poes Ulaulme are almostalways running through my head when I am photographing.The Ruyiabat of Omar Khayiam is always good fare to take tothe cemeterymaybe a little cynical but were else to be cyni-

    cal, dust into dust and under dust to lie. Drink! for you

    know not whence you came, nor why: Drink! for you knownot why you go, nor where..

    I also hold another life theory that most times the question isimportant than the answer. I like to look for questions whether

    or not I am really interested in the answer. Questions about the

    death, questions about the life of the person in the grave. Lookfor questions I can assure you they are more poignant than an-swersmuch more compelling in photographs.

    But to boil it down to an essenceyou have to look for ways tocapture the mystery of death, the departure, the uncertainty ofthe unknown, the spirits, the apparitionsnot just tomb-stonesbut the sadness of those left behind, the emptiness, thelonging. It requires approaching a stone angel to give it life as

    though it were a person you were photographing or approachinga bench as emptiness. Shoot out of focus and shoot at earlymorning or late evening when the shadows are long.. You arenot photographing concrete or granite or marble you are photo-graphing heavenly beings, angels, the souls departed. Its all a


    I love to photograph things that are amiss in a cemeteryturned over vase of flowers, faded plastic flowers, brokenstones, grass or weeds creeping over the stoneshomemadestones are so ugly and so powerful at the same time. Funeralhome markers are sad enough but to be faded beyond reading orempty is wrenching. Think about the poignancy of the objectnot about what the object is. Accept it as other worldly and dowhatever is necessary to say that in your photograph. You arephotographing death, the reminders of death, the cessation oflifethat holds mystery, fear, doubts, promises, hurt, yearning.

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    Dont go to a cemetery to just simply photograph tombstones. The cemetery you go to will greatly influence the types of pho-tographs that you will take. Newer cemeteries are staid and stalecompared to older cemeteries. Perpetual care had done much tohomogenize the appearance of a cemetery.. Flat stones thatmake the area easy to maintain give the photographer very littleof pictorial interest. But even there you will find large pieces ofsculpture, gazebos, colonnades or other decorative elementsadded by the cemetery to lend an air of beauty and serenity.You will also have flowers and can make connections betweenthe flowers and the gravestones.

    However, older cemeteries are much richer pictorially. Theolder the better because the stones are likely to be much moreornate, the stones will be more weathered indicating the passageof time. Generally the more affluent the cemetery the better thequality of the stonework but do not discount cemeteries inlower income areas for poignancy. Homemade stones, funeralhome markers, vandalized cemeteries all can provide strongstatements about mortality, about death.

    Above is a photograph that I did recently in one of Houstonsolder cemeteries. I posted it to the Discussion Blog withoutcomment and I feel certain that no on knew what to make of it.That is not surprising because the weathering makes it difficultto even tell what the object is. This is a very extreme example.

    Out of curiosity, what do you see in this photograph? I willadmit it is not a photograph that you can take in quickly. Itprobably requires the mindset that I mentioned previously toeven get anything out of the photograph. Can you make out thevery faint letters and numbers? They are not so clear that youcan actually make out much more than what might be a C inwhat appears to be the second row and in the bottom maybe thetop of a 2. There is just enough of the letters to identify this asa gravestone but not enough to ever tell who might be buriedhere.

    I gave this photograph the title Temporal Destiny and it goesback to what I said previously that we not only exit this life, weeventually will exit the memory of those that follow. This is atheme that has been derived from my interest in poetry.

    I met a traveler form an antique landWho said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

    And on the pedestal these words appear--'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bareThe lone and level sands stretch far away.

    Ozymandias of Shellys poem was apparently at one time a

    person of significant importance. Yet as Shelly points outeven the significantly importance suffer the fate of being

    forgotten. The person buried in this grave may be mentionedin someones family history but for all practical purposes as

    flesh and blood this person has passed into oblivion. There isnot enough information available on the stone to even guess

    how long ago that might have taken.

    This is a theme that I like to pursue when photographing incemeteries because in many ways it is what I have to look

    forward to in the not too distant future. Having no children,no heirs, no progeny, Janet and I have decided against a bur-

    ial plot. Our intent is to have our ashes scattered togetherand we will very quickly pass from this earth in entirety. We

    passed this way once. We have depleted the vessel and now,together, what is left of the vessel will blow in the wind to

    who knows what adventures. We may even end up on one of

    the distant shores we dreamed of early in our marriage. Andif we dont is that any great loss?

    I see this photograph as a way of coming to terms with thefleeting nature of life or at least of the discarded life vessel.

    There is a line from Thanatopis that I have used as inspira-

    tion for photographs for over half a century, Earth thatnourished thee shall claim thy grown to be resolved to earth

    again. The first photograph that I recall taking with that lineas inspiration had nothing to do with cemeteries. I love pho-

    tographing trees and I include trees in a lot of my cemeteryphotographs. The tree in this photograph was standing all

    alone on what was mostly a treeless plain in the WichitaWildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma. It had to have

    been tenacious to have chosen that particular spot to springto life but at the time I took the photograph it was only a

    windblown skeleton of what it had once been. You will oftenfind trees in the older cemeteries that can serve as a meta-

    phor of life and death. All living things eventually follow thesame patterneventually dying.

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    These three markers, each in varying degrees of legibility, still addresses the pho-

    tographic concept of being abandoned, unattendedall akin to being forgotten.

    This is one of my favorite cemetery themes. True is it not a pictorially beautiful as

    photographing well sculpted angels, it is possibly more deeply poignant.

    Olivewood Cemetery

    Section one

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    Olivewood Cemetery

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    Olivewood Cemetery

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    Olivewood Cemetery

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    Olivewood Cemetery

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    I cannot imagine what created the square hole in the concrete covering of this

    grave. Even though there appears to have been a marker at the head of the grave,

    possibly at one time there was a family marker that fit into the open area. Now

    you can see that the grave has collapsed as many of the graves in Olivewood have.

    Olivewood Cemetery

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    Olivewood Cemetery

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    Most of the time when

    I convert to black and

    white I will use a cool

    tint because I feel that

    it is more appropriate

    to the subject matter.

    Even though this is aphotograph taken in a

    cemetery it really is

    only incidental to the

    theme. Because it

    strikes me more as an

    object from antiquity I

    decided that I would

    prefer a warm tone


    This was photo-

    graphed in OlivewoodCemetery, which

    served the black com-

    munity of Houston

    since 1875. The ceme-

    tery has been heavily

    vandalized and over

    grown. A few years

    ago an association was

    formed to restore

    Olivewood. It is still

    in very rough condi-

    tion but every timethat I go back it is in

    slightly better condi-


    The work consists

    mainly of clearing

    away an abundance of

    crape myrtles and

    clearing the under-

    growth. Little has

    been done to the

    stones. That makes itan ideal location for

    photographs that ad-

    dress being forgotten.

    These were also shot

    with the Lensbaby to

    give an ethereal feel-

    ing to the images.

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    Another interesting object to photograph in cemeteries is the

    flowers. You can approach it as flower photography or, as I

    prefer, you can use the flowers as a statement of grief.

    Weathered and faded flowers address time in a way similar

    to worn or broken grave markers. I do occasionally try to do

    colorful photographs of the more recently placed flowers.When I do, I try, if possible, to include a portion of the writ-

    ing on the marker but be sure that I have tied the flowers to

    the cemetery setting..

    Most often I prefer to photograph the weathered and faded

    flowers in a way that addresses sadness, grief, the passage of

    time. That, to me, is the most emotional approach.

    Hollywood cemetery is one of the better cemeteries for pho-

    tographing flowers on the graves. For one thing there are

    more Hispanic burials at Hollywood and Hispanics are more

    prone to decorate the graves and to decorate them more fre-

    quently. I wish I could get down on their level easier.

    On my recent trips I have not photographed all that many

    flowers but I do have a few exceptional photographs of

    flowers taken at past shoots at Hollywood.

    I usually set my white balance to agree with the type of

    lighting. However, true color is not important to me since I

    consider color to be simply an emotional element of the pho-

    tograph. Sometimes true color is more emotionally satisfy-

    ing, sometimes it isnt. In these recent photographs from

    Hollywood, most are set to fluorescent white balance. Ceme-

    tery photograph, for me, is a very emotion centered process

    and I want to do whatever I feel gives the image the strong-

    est intended emotional impact. In this case the fluorescent

    combined with slight desaturation imparts a very subtle un-

    reality, somewhat deathly coloration to the images.

    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Sometimes you will come across a special circumstance

    such as happened on my last trip to Hollywood Cemetery. I

    generally stayed in the older section of the cemetery but I

    wandered over the top of a knoll and came across a steep

    slope that was limited to gravesites for children. It presented

    some unique opportunities.

    The flowers on these graves were relatively fresh so the pho-tographs were too cheerful in color. I have a preference for

    dark photos and cemetery photos, IMO, needs to be dark.

    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Hollywood Cemetery

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    In Emerson's poem, Thanotopsis, there is a line that I almostalways look to illustrate, ...the oak shall send his roots

    abroad and pierce thy mold. This requires photographing in

    one of the older cemeteries where the trees have grown so

    large that they intrude into the gravesites. I have found these

    shots at both Hollywood and Olivewood Cemeteries. Glen-

    wood is too well maintained to have disturbed stones.

    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Hollywood Cemetery

    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Every photographer goes to the cemetery to photograph an-

    gels and cherubs. Here again the thought process needs to be

    more along the lines of what are angels, cherubs? What is

    their function or relationship to death?

    It is simple enough to photograph a well sculpted figure sim-

    ply for its beauty and it is okay to do that. But dont fail to

    see the angel as more than a block of stone. Well done ceme-

    tery statuary emotes. The sculptor does much of your work

    for you.

    The Fenn angel at Hollywood Cemetery on this and the pre-

    ceding two pages is very sad. The sculptor tilted the face

    downward keeping the face always in shadow. It is a very

    old work and has weathered heavily, lichen obscures its fea-

    tures. Although it is not as well done as some at Glenwood

    Cemetery it is probably the saddest of all the angels. I neverfail to photograph it when I go to Hollywood. It almost al-

    ways is holding fresh plastic flowers. This is the first time I

    have photographed it when there were no flowers. The last

    time in addition to the flowers a chain with a key was draped

    around the hand. It is evident that those buried here are not

    yet forgotten by the current generations.

    The Hill angel at Glenwood is the most agonizing and

    probably the most beautiful of all the angels. Others at Glen-

    wood are guardians, some are messengers, some are guides,

    some beckon silence, some are uplifting, some are welcom-

    ing, some are forlornall well done angels and cherubs con-vey emotion, the emotion you want to capture that emotion

    in your photograph.

    Some of the techniques I use on angels include close ups,

    detail shots, color manipulation, either cooling or warming

    the photograph depending upon what I would like for the

    photograph to convey. I do close ups of the faces to capture

    the emotion of the expression, close ups of the hands be-

    cause next to the face the hands are the strongest conveyor

    of emotion. I also try to photograph the angels from more

    than one viewpoint. I try to watch the background carefully

    to be sure that the angel separated well from the backgroundand that there is noting detracting. I frequently shoot the

    angels at very wide apertures to heavily soften the back-

    ground. I also will use ultra wide angle lenses to distort the

    angel for a more other worldly appearance. Lately I have

    been using the Lensbaby a good deal in cemeteries for that

    same reason. I want to do what ever I can to give as much

    emotion to the angel as is possible.

    Hollywood Cemetery

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    Olivewood Cemetery

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    Olivewood Cemetery

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    Olivewood Cemetery

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    Olivewood Cemetery

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    Olivewood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    62Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Glenwood Cemetery

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    Section Three

    The preceding photograph were all taken within the

    past two months. The photographs in this section

    were taken some time ago.

    At the time I first dis-

    covered Olivewood

    Cemetery it was still

    very much overgrown.

    Only the area near the

    entrance had beencleared enough that

    you could find most of

    the stones.

    Most of the photo-

    graphs that I took

    were of the lilies. Al-

    though I did use the

    angel to illustrate the

    difference in spatial

    distances cratered by

    switching focal lengthlenses while keeping

    the main subject mater

    roughly the same size.

    This was a subject that

    was being discussed

    on the GWs Photog-

    raphy Discussion Blog

    at the time.

    Olivewood Cemetery, March 2009

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    Olivewood Cemetery, March 2009

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    Houston National Cemetery, July 2009

    My first time to go to the Houston National Cemetery to pho-

    tograph was with very specific intent. A blog assignment was

    to do a photograph of a patriotic blur. I thought at the ceme-

    tery I would be able to use camera movement to create a

    ghost like effect with the upright stones.

    I arrived at a time when the area I wanted to photograph was

    having the grass watered which turned out to be an unex-

    pected asset when I used the spray backlit.

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    Hollywood Cemetery, November 2008

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    Map of a significant turning point in my thoughts on photographing in cemeteries, October 2008

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    Texas county maps at one time could be purchased in 12 x

    17 sheets for less than a dollar apiece. When Janet and I were

    into bicycle touring we had quite a collection. They also came

    in handy when we were into genealogy since they show the

    locations of all the cemeteries in the county. Now they are

    available for free on the Internet but you are limited to the size

    of your printer.

    For the GWs Photography Discussion blog I put together a

    day long photoshoot of country cemeteries south of Hemstead,

    Texas. It is an area not far from Houston where we could get to

    easily. Janet and I made a couple of trips prior to the official

    date to locate and check out the cemeteries. With that informa-

    tion I set up two loops with a lunch break in Hempstead be-

    tween the two.

    I of course enjoyed all three trips. However I believe that most

    of the blog team was a little disappointed. They had previ-

    sioned bucolic country cemeteries with old ornate stones. Thatis not what we found. True there were many old ornate stones,

    many of which were no longer standing upright and at one

    cemetery we were in competition with a herd of cows. Most of

    the cemeteries were unfenced, away from most houses and

    therefore were heavily vandalized. What greeted us in most of

    the cemeteries was far from pictorial.

    I mention this because in photography it is good to know what

    you are going for but it is not necessarily good to rely to heav-

    ily on preconceptions. Sure I would loved to have found twenty

    miniature Glenwoods but when I didnt I shifted gears to see

    what the cemeteries were offering me and actually started todevelop many of my concepts on photographing in cemeteries

    on this trip.

    I found the vandalized cemeteries very disturbing but still they

    had the feeling of the ruins of antiquity so I tried to put that

    into my photographs. I found the homemade headstones, the

    plethora of funeral home markers, especially those that were no

    longer legible to be very poignant, almost heart rending. The

    trip made me think of cemeteries not only as depositories of the

    dead but as clues to the lives of those that lay beneath the dust;

    as stories about those that follow them.

    This was nothing I had not seen or experienced before but I

    was seeing and experiencing cemeteries differently. Rather

    than seeing photo ops, I was seeing the significance of the

    cemeteries, the headstones, the flowers as stories. I began pho-

    tographing them differently or at least wanting to photograph

    them differently. In the intervening two years my thoughts are

    still developing but I believe my cemetery photographs are now

    much more interesting than they were before this trip.

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    Richard Grove Cemetery, October 2008

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    Smith Cemetery, October 2008 Samuels Chapel Cemetery, October 2008

    Buckhorn Cemetery, October 2008

    In October 2008 the GWs Discus-

    sion Blog made a cemetery photo-shoot in the small country ceme-

    teries south and southwest of

    Hempstead, Texas. Some of these

    shots are from the scouting trip

    that Janet and I made a couple of

    weeks before the scheduled trip.

    This is actually where I developed

    my thinking about being forgotten

    within a fairly short time frame

    after death. Many of the cemeter-

    ies were heavily vandalized andmany were about to succumb to

    the weeds and vines. It was a very

    interesting trip although I feel that

    most of the people that went were

    disappointed because they had

    preconceived notions of bucolic

    country cemeteries which is not

    what we found.

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    Moneville Cemetery, October 2008

    About the only relatively attractive

    cemetery was the one at Moneville..

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    Pilgrims Rest Cemetery, October 2008

    Unnamed Cemetery on Smith Road, October 2008

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    St Martin de Porres Cemetery, October 2008

    St Martin de Porres Cemetery was no

    marked on the county maps that I wa

    using to set up the itinerary for the ph

    toshoot. Janet and I had stopped at

    Warwarofsky Cemetery which turned

    out to be another of several disappoin

    ments in a row. I was getting tired and

    decided to head back to Houston. I ju

    happen to glance over toward the set-

    ting sun and noticed St Martin on the

    top of a knoll several hundred yard of

    of the road.

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    Moneville Cemetery, Second Trip October 2008

    Since Moneville Cemetery was the most attractive of

    the cemeteries that we were going to visit we made it

    our first stop to get the morning light.

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    Pilgrims Rest, Second Trip October 2008

    Pilgrim's Rest was one of the smaller cemeteries and it

    had been heavily vandalized. I suspect it was a colored

    cemetery although I do not know that for sure.

    Probably more than half the stones were homemade like

    the small stone on the right that says simply, Mother.

    Probably the saddest object to find in a cemetery is a fu-

    neral home marker. It is even sadder when the name is

    totally faded or missing as in the one above. You have to

    question whether the family just did not have the re-

    courses to purchase a headstone or if it was just not im-

    portant to mark the grave. Possibly there was no family

    left to tend to such matters. Although we will all eventu-

    ally reach a point where we will no longer be remem-

    bered, no longer known among the living, it is still ex-

    tremely sad to realize that this persons life has ended so

    unmarked, unhonored. There were numerous funeral

    home markers at Pilgrims Rest.

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    St Marys Catholic Cemetery, Second Trip October 2008

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    St Marys Catholic Cemetery, Second Trip October 2008

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    Hollywood Cemetery, November r 2008

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    Hollywood Cemetery, November 2008

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    Hollywood Cemetery, April 200I frequently mention that I draw a lot of my inspiration for pho-

    tography in general and cemetery photograph specifically from


    What should we be without the sexual myth,The human reverie or poem of death?

    Castratos of moon-mashLife consist

    Of propositions about life. The human

    Reverie is a solitude in which

    We compose these propositions, torn by dreams,

    Bye the terrible incantations of defeatsAnd by the fear that defeats and dreams are one.

    The whole race is a poet that writes

    The eccentric propositions of its fate.

    Wallace Stevens, Men Made out of Words

    There is a passage in Emersons Thanatopsis that I have usedsince the 1960s as photographic inspiration when photograph-

    ing any dead or dying object. There is, or was, a dead tree in theWichita Wildlife Reserve near Lawton Oklahoma that first

    brought this passage to my mind. Now when I go to cemeteriesfinding a photograph that will illustrate the last line of the pas-

    sage is almost always a consideration.

    Earth that nourished thee will claim thy growth to be resolved

    to earth again...The oak will send his root abroad and pierce thy


    This photograph taken in Hollywood Cemetery is currently my

    favorite illustration of that last line

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    Hollywood Cemetery, April 2008

    Although I do not always follow my own advice I frequently

    mention going to cemeteries either early in the morning or late in

    the evening. when the sun is low and the shadows are long.

    There is no better example of the sagacity of that advice then the

    photograph on the right of the Fenn angel at Holloywood ceme-

    tery. that is pure serendipity of being in the right spot at the right

    timejust as a shaft of light from the late evening sun broke

    through the trees to shine only on the flowers that has been

    placed in the angels hands. I could probably visit Hollywood

    every day for a year and never be there at this exact same time


    Okay, maybe I am just a lucky SOB and not at all that sagacious

    but far be it from me to knock serendipity. Being there early or

    late will greatly increase the possibility of coming away looking

    greatly more talented than you really are.

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    Hollywood Cemetery, April 2008

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    Cong. Adath Israel Jewish Cemetery, April 2008

    This is a special circumstance cemetery photography. It

    was actually done for a camera club competition for the

    assigned category Rocks.

    There is a Jewish tradition of placing a small stone on the

    headstone of a visited grave. According to Paul Saltzman,

    the only person of Jewish extraction that I knew at the time,

    by placing the rock on the headstone the visitor is assisting

    the deceased in reaching Nineveh.

    I visited three Jewish cemeteries before I found a place-

    ment that I liked. I finally settled on the one that is closest

    to my houseisnt that always the case? The photograph

    did not receive a ribbon but I still enjoyed researching the

    burial traditions of the Jewish faith.

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    This is the only trip I have made to

    Glenwood where I used off camera

    flash. Im not sure, outside of lazi-ness, that I havent tried this again.

    If I were to reprocess these images I

    most likely would change the proc-

    essing. Mainly I would darken the

    sky more than I did originally.

    The angel on the previous page was

    shot with the 11-16mm Tokina lens.

    Glenwood Cemetery, November 2007

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    Glenwood Cemetery, November 2007

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    Glenwood Cemetery, November 2007

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    Glenwood Cemetery, November 2007

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    In Camera techniques:

    Ultrawide aperture


    Incorrect White Balance

    Post Processing Techniques



    Desaturation (especially greens)

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