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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 07 May 2013 (Tuesday) 09:54
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Cemetery photography....

 
Clean ­ Gene
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Mar 27, 2014 00:59 |  #31

OhLook wrote in post #15906731 (external link)
The sentient beings in a cemetery are the visitors, the staff, and the wildlife. As for the permanent occupants, only their remains are there. If you believe otherwise, you might try thinking of cemetery photography as a way of honoring the dead, extending their memorials, rather than anything disturbing.

Opportunities exist there. Many cemeteries contain interesting artwork in the form of monuments. Old cemeteries give you material for connecting with history. A long thread for such photos, "Bring Out Yer Dead," is in the Urban & Travel forum.


That's how I like to think of it. I don't think of it as disrespecting the dead (usually). Most cemetary photographs I've seen seem to be trying to at least be respectful (even if they're super-cliched). I usually see it as a tribute to the dead before I see it as exploitation of the dead.

Having said that, what I think doesn't matter. Follow your own moral compass. If it seems wrong, then do something else. Lord knows there's plenty of other stuff to shoot. Another cliche is photographing homelessness and poverty. The people who do it defend it on the basis of it shedding light on important issues, while the people who criticize it see it as exploitative. I'm not gonna take a side in that debate, both sides have valid points. But it ultimately comes down to "don't do it if you aren't okay with it", and that's something that only the photographer can decide.




  
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joeseph
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Mar 27, 2014 01:12 |  #32

some of my best shots are cemetery ones (esp. IR)


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watt100
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Mar 27, 2014 08:18 |  #33

TooManyShots wrote in post #15906550 (external link)
What is your thoughts? I have been on the fence with this one since there is the Greenwood cemetery in Brooklyn. I am concerning about the artistic nature of it. Well, I am very receptive to the spirit world. :) Emotionally and psychologically, I am not sure I should be just randomly shooting there.

nothing wrong with shooting (respectfully) in a cemetery




  
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juscuz
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Mar 27, 2014 14:25 |  #34

As said before, follow your own moral compass, but I sure don't see anything wrong with it. There's a flickr group dedicated to Glenwood Cemetery here in Houston...

http://www.flickr.com/​groups/729449@N22/ (external link)




  
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x_tan
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Mar 27, 2014 21:23 as a reply to  @ juscuz's post |  #35

We had some walk under heavy snow in a small Swiss Alps town St. Niklaus, I noticed some beautiful statues and I took some photos. Suddenly I realized we're in local cemetery. In respect, I deleted all the photos as I didn't feel I had the permission to take photos there.

In other hand when we visited La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires (Evita Tomb), I just took some photos as all other tourists.


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Phoenixkh
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Mar 28, 2014 06:58 |  #36

I have a brother-in-law buried in Arlington. That place is emotionally charged. I took a few photographs for my sister-in-law plus we did a pencil etching of his gravestone. I've only been there that one time when we met our sister-in-law who came out from Montana over the Memorial Day weekend. The whole weekend was moving.

Each of us has views about life and death, at least, most of us do. I think respect is the central theme here. I think X_tan's post was telling.... sometimes it feels ok to take photographs and sometimes, it just feels wrong. I pay attention to those inner impressions. I might just be deluding myself, but I suspect we are all prone to self delusion in one way or the other. ;)


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tonylong
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Mar 28, 2014 17:18 |  #37

Cemeteries are, to me, "rich" with photo subjects that can be interesting in various ways, historical, for sure, evocative for sure in terms of thinking of human life and death and all that involves...

And then, that got me thinking about photos that go beyond the old historical subjects to ones that "cut to the chase" of the human element, ones that can, well, cut to the heart!

Here, for example, is some "old" graves...maybe the people have family here, or maybe they are forgotten...but what strikes us is the sense of history, of time having passed, not just of "people buried":

IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/tonylong/image/95071177/original.jpg

And then, in the same cemetery, there is a gravestone that evokes history. This part of town is named "Fisher's Landing" and has become a bustling part of "suburbia", but this grave/headstone reminds us that, well, names have historical meaning:

IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/tonylong/image/95071187/original.jpg

Well, those are to me examples of the "rewards" of cemetery photography, when we stumble across some history!

But, moving along, what happens when we come across something that is more current as far as not just the timeline, but also as to the human emotion involved? That can be challenging, because, well, such feeling and involvement, that's "personal", one doesn't want to intrude...but sometimes, well, we might find ourselves "in there"!

For example, here is a grave of a couple who "passed" a few decades ago. One might glance at it in passing, note the flag, possibly ponder the meaning of the flag:

IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/tonylong/image/147592743/original.jpg

But...the occasion of me taking this photo was that I was visiting it with an old friend (Jim Rosenback), his various family members are buried here, and in fact, this is the grave of his parents, he placed the flag there to honor his father's service:

IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/tonylong/image/147592742/original.jpg

It can be pretty poignant sharing such moments! What is even more moving for me is the fact that my friend Jim, a disabled VietNam war vet, underwent some surgery a few months after this occasion, failed to recover, and passed on, and was himself buried here, staying close to his family! When I visited the cemetery, though, things weren't "set up" for a photo, but still...

I hesitate to inject more "personal" photos in here, but they are relevant to my discussion here...

So, here is the grave/headstone of a young man who, at the age of 20, died about 20 years ago:

IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/tonylong/image/119168289/original.jpg

Again, one could view the grave in passing, pondering the youth of the lad and the saying "Shine On you Crazy Diamond", noting that he must have been a Pink Floyd fan!

And then you might move on, except, well, for me there is no "moving on". He was my son, his loss is "forever", and I was here with my grandson, who harbored fond memories of his uncle, and shared the feeling of loss at his passing:

IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/tonylong/image/119168270/original.jpg

And just to drive the "human element" closer, I was at his grave last year, marking what would have been his 40th birthday, 20 years after his death, still the father:


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Pardon my ramblings, like I said, cemeteries can be great "photo ops", but also places of deep feeling. That doesn't need to scare us away, but rather to show consideration, sensitivity, and being prepared to grab a "moment" if, well, the moment presents itself in a way that we can do so without being insensitive/intrusive!

Tony
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Gomar
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Mar 28, 2014 19:04 as a reply to  @ post 15916341 |  #38

In Brooklyn check out Gravesend Cemetery. I've shot there. Really weird stuff goes on there. Spooky.
And Washington cemetery is dope; you'll find oodles of rabbinic wisdom written on tomb stones of the learned rabbis. A small section on Bay Parkway has the 19th.c. of sunken tombs, most others are newer.
The bums from FDR used to hang out there and get wasted, but no more.




  
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Sibil
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Mar 30, 2014 09:45 as a reply to  @ Gomar's post |  #39

tonylong ....... very touching.




  
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kfreels
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Apr 02, 2014 17:04 |  #40

Nothing wrong with shooting in a cemetery. Same rules apply as anywhere else.....don't be a jerk.

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I am serious....and don't call me Shirley.
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coogee
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Apr 03, 2014 01:03 |  #41

Thanks for sharing that Tony and really well expressed.




  
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nathancarter
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Apr 03, 2014 13:48 |  #42

Tony, thanks for the post.


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http://www.facebook.co​m/VictorVoyeur (external link) for fun stuff

  
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tonylong
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Apr 03, 2014 19:00 |  #43

Sibil wrote in post #16796737 (external link)
tonylong ....... very touching.

coogee wrote in post #16806016 (external link)
Thanks for sharing that Tony and really well expressed.

nathancarter wrote in post #16807254 (external link)
Tony, thanks for the post.

Hey, I hope I was able to contribute to the conversation, not just provide a "moment"!


Tony
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Nieman
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Apr 04, 2014 11:26 |  #44

Tonylong great post. Brought me to Tears..


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h14nha
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Apr 05, 2014 15:36 |  #45

tonylong wrote in post #16807981 (external link)
Hey, I hope I was able to contribute to the conversation, not just provide a "moment"!

I had a lump in my throat as I read your post. My little girl was playing at my feet ( 15 months old ) and it just struck a chord :( Sorry for your loss.


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Cemetery photography....
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