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As all two of my regular readers know, I really like cemeteries, but have trouble finding realistic representations thereof among digital models. Over at the Daz store, for example, Spooky Plots by LaurieS and Lisa's Botanicals looks more like a digital rendering of Halloween decorations than an actual graveyard, as does Pretty3D's Lost Cemetery. Sure, you can find some nice individual tombs, but most digital cemetery sets seem to have been created by people who have never even seen a tombstone in their lives.

Imagine, then, my ecstasy when Danie and Marforno's Tranquility Lane appeared on sale at Renderosity for 60% off! Danie and Marforno specialize in timeworn, vaguely fantastical sets in which one can dramatically pose one's scantily clad female models. Let's call them the masters of the Gothic lite pinup.

Occasionally, though, Danie and marforno deviate from Ye Olde Phantaisie Weirdnesse [seriously -- why does Cult Diaries have tusks everywhere?] and do something more realistic and evocative. Enter Tranquility Lane, a cemetery set obviously modeled after those in New Orleans -- hell, there's even French on the crypts and signs. Of course, I have no personal experience with crypts clustered as tightly as urban apartments buildings -- we don't stack dead people up here in New England; instead we tend to spread them out. However, even though Tranquility Lane does not reflect my personal schema of a cemetery, I can repurpose elements of the set, such as the monoliths, fences and certain mausoleums, in my ongoing quest to represent digitally the type of graveyard with which I am familiar.

Oh yeah -- and I got this for $10.40, 60% off its usual $26.00 price! Whoo hoo!
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I had a few inquiries on MWD about the cemetery set for the latest episode of Zombieville, so below I've collected some notes and photos that I created during its creation.

 
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The family plot of some ancestors of mine, located on the outskirts of Plattsburgh, New York, has received thorough treatment on findagrave.com, thanks to one Chris West. There's a shot of the roadside historical marker sign, as well as the 20th-century commemorative plaque in the cemetery itself. There's also a front view of the whole thing, complete with raised plot, surrounding stone wall topped with fence and steps into the burial ground.

I'm most excited to see records of all 13 burials in the cemetery, with accompanying photos of headstones. Naturally, I sought and found my favorite: the stone of John Addoms Hagar [1822-1833]. The record does not have a transcription of the epitaph, but I can clearly read the best part from the photo:

In Death he exclaimed
I see the Angles.


I really need to get back there for more photos...
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Last year I acquired a small replica of William Wetmore Story's Angel of Grief that he originally carved for his wife's tomb. Made by Design Toscano, your friendly neighborhood purveyors of all things mediocre, tawdry and expensive, she looked like this initially:

Read more... )
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Ooooh, I think that the graveyard in Zombieville could use some plaster pedestals to suggest mausoleums! Here is a nice plain pillar, needing only some weathering, for $29.99. This Ionic one, at $14.99, is a bit cheaper, though. And here's a Roman one for the same price. But maybe this column wall mirror would work [$19.99] too.

I'm a big fan of this curved Roman capital bench too...perfect for contemplating my grieving angel statue...

Perhaps I could get away not with some columns, but with some silly cherub statue from this category, as long as it looks suitably depressed.
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I finished Isabel's car, Eppie, a few months ago, but never got around to photoing it until now. Behold!!!Read more... )

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Besides the Angel of Grief, my favorite angel is the one in Abbott Thayer's painting Stevenson Memorial, which he painted in 1903 to commemorate Robert Louis Stevenson. Most of my comments about the Angel of Grief's earthy, mortal, emotional nature also apply to the Stevenson Memorial angel. I love her bulk, her weight, her solidity. I love how the browns and greens in her hair, wings and robe reflect the browns and greens of the swallowing background, making her organic, natural and concrete. I love how the background is so dark that she appears to be glowing in the night. I love her melancholy, thoughtful expression, her eyes turned down in contemplation, the fact that she's almost pouting. I love how she's not really an angel after all, no diaphanous light-made being with fearsome tidings from God, but an actual, fleshly person bearing the weight of symbolism on her shoulders and the weight of grief in her heart.
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Based on the typeface in olden primers, but also suitable for 18th and 19th century epitaphs. 
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I already have the supplies for a 17th/18th century cemetery in the form of these stupendous little magnets from Della'Morte:



Read more... ) 

Trouble is, most cemeteries around here [Chittenden County, Vermont] date from the 19th century on, so the aforesaid iconography would be anachronistic and inaccurate. Time to procure some more Victorian gravestones for my sets....

The centerpiece of my modern cemetery set will be an Angel of Grief [previously rhapsodized about] from Design Toscano [your friendly Internet purveyors of expensive art for people with lots of money and very little taste!] with a bench in front of her. Because the Angel of Grief a1) contains a nauseating piece of doggerel and b1) comes in a nauseating jaundiced color [who thought that was a good idea?] , she will need a2) Dremelling and b2) repainting to some less offensive grey or white scheme.

Accompanying these pieces will be some tabletop tombstones from Darkside Displays. Made of plastic and sporting designs that would never appear in any self-respecting real cemetery [vampires! zombies! witches!], these need work as well. I can't decide whether to sand off the silly designs or just turn the stones so they're not facing the camera. :p Either way, some repainting will probably be in order.

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Lemax Collection makes several different sets of little decorative tabletop resin fantasy villages with [all white] people, vehicles, buildings, animals, plants, etc. They have a "Victorian" village [in quotes because it doesn't look Victorian to me], a "coastal Massachusetts" village [ditto], a Halloween village, Santa's village, etc., etc. Am I the only one who thinks it would be hilarious to cross-pollinate elements from one set [mostly the Halloween one] with others?

Think of the possibilities:
  • Grim Reaper stalking daredevil skiers [or the Girl Scout parade]
  • Skeleton mariachi band baking up Victorian carolers
  • Killer clown mobile home [no really!] lurking at the edge of Santaville
  • Santa's Wonderland sign in front of a little cemetery
Then again, these ideas are coming from someone who thinks that vampire + 1989 + ice cream = cute, so your mileage may vary. :p
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I'm not sure if I want to spray paint it either black or white or just leave it pink and put some weird designs on it. For some reason I'm thinking that there should be cemetery iconography on it. :p I mean, she likes this couch, so why not extend the same excruciating design principles to her car?

Vanity plate: EPITAPH. Isabel's name for her car: Eppie. Yeah, she's weird...

Isabel rocks! \o/

No wonder she gets haunted by a dead version of herself.

EDIT: I think I'll leave the car pink, but stencil some death's heads on it in black. FUCK YEAH!!!

EDIT 2: Gravestone Artwear generously allowed me to use some of their designs on Isabel's car, so I vectorized four of my favorites. I will then create custom window clings that I can stick on the doors, hood and trunk of her car. This is going to be amazing! Hmmm, I should also create a little gravestoneartwear.com window cling too. :D

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No, that's not the latest hot new band. :p It's the subject of my current contemplation.

Let me tell you about my favoritest shirt ever. It's a black long-sleeved T-shirt by Gravestone Artwear, whose products feature the designs of 17th century US tombstone iconography.

On the front of my shirt, rendered in white, is a design from the stone of Susanna Jayne, buried in 1776 in Old Burial Hill, Marblehead, MA. This piece is about 11.5" square!

Read more... )

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I swear that there's a variation of this famous cemetery statue in a graveyard somewhere in Vermont. I swear that I found a black and white, full-page photo of it in some book of grave iconography somewhere in the state and photocopied it and put it on my wall -- it was that beautiful.

I really don't have an emotional reaction to much modern cemetery iconography, but I love the Angel of Grief. She looks like she has just tumbled from the sky to the edge of the grave in question. Her limp, dejected hand, from which has dropped the branch she was carrying, expresses most eloquently her devastation. She is no prim, restrained angel, with meek eyes turned skyward in diffident supplication; she is a human and earthy creature, drawn down hard by the gravity of grief. She is grieving with her whole body. She embodies grief. William Wetmore Story, the sculptor, captures with great tenderness and sensitivity the human perception of grief: a heaviness in one's heart so dire that it can pull winged beings from the sky and turn them to stone.

Awesomely enough, miniature versions of the Angel of Grief exist [here's one], a sign to me that clearly I should create a Victorian 1:6 scale cemetery set and make a little Angel of Grief the centerpiece. The zombies of Vermont would say, "Let's meet at the grieving angel." She'd need some weathering, though... Here's a technique for faux concrete that may help...

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I'm on a quest to find 1:6 tombstones. I need to make a 1:6 cemetery set for Ellery to hang out in and write in her diary in.

I could design some in PhotoShop Elements and print them out on a color printer, but I don't want to make them because I am lazy. I typed in "miniature cemetery" and "miniature tombstones" and "miniature headstones," etc., into search engines, but all I came up with were 1:12 miniatures. Too small! I eventually had the genius idea of trying Halloween decorations ["halloween miniature cemetery"]. But, at 9.75" tall, the tombstones were more like 1:3 scale than 1:6 scale.

Rats! Thinking about what objects might be the appropriate size, I came up with magnets and salt and pepper shakers. A search of "tombstone" on Etsy revealed many salt and pepper shakers of the appropriate size. I decided against these because they all had silly poems about "Here lies Pepper/Salt" on them that would not have contributed to the realism.

Finally I discovered these tombstone magnets by Dellamorte Co., "curators of the reliquary macabre." Each of the 3 magnets are around 3" high, their silhouettes and symbols drawn directly from those I have seen on 17th and 18th century graves in places around Massachusetts. While they don't have epitaphs, the magnets do have Latin admonitions common to tombstones of that era, all about the shortness of life and inevitability of death. While there are fewer of these ornate graves in Vermont [where Me and My Muses is set] than in, say, Massachusetts, these magnets look suitably sepulchral and about the right size [maybe a little small?], so I got them.

Further bulletins as events warrant!

EDIT: Well, shit. "Tabletop tombstone" in the search engine gets me all kinds of appropriately sized resin or plastic tombstones. I was just using imprecise keywords!!
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Lola Paprika hyangs out in the Mountain View Cemetery, Essex Center, VT.Read more... )
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I took about 40 shots this afternoon, but these three of Sardonix peeking out devilishly from the corner of a stone entranced me the most.Read more... )
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I don't know where my 1:3 Tarot cards went or my 1:3 book about Puritan cemetery iconography [handmade by me], so I bought some new mini Tarot cards and books for my 1:3ers. I got them a mini version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and a mini book of The Raven and two tales by Poe. The total shipping was more than the total price of the items. :p Anyway, then they won't get bored if they want to do something other than talking to each other.
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"Podunk" exists in the U.S. imagination as a mythical town of such remoteness and emptiness that it epitomizes hillbilly rurality, but, interestingly enough, there are several places in the U.S. actually named Podunk. One, a subdivision of the extremely small town Wardsboro (population 854 as of 2000), exists in my home state, Vermont. A few years back, the Washington Post gave an interesting, if cursory, look at the place with the folklorically charged name.

Podunk, located in Windham County in the extremely southern part of the state, flourished during the mid-1800s, peaking at 1000+ residents, most of whom were subsistence hill farmers. The population dwindled as residents of Wardsboro moved to better land or more industrialized places to live. By 1916, Podunk's schoolhouse closed, and the forest began to overtake the once-cleared fields. Current residents sometimes happen upon abandoned foundations in the underbrush and, more poignantly, little cemeteries, mere family plots with a few markers. The population now numbers half a hundred full-timers, though that number may be increasing, at least on a seasonal basis. With the Mount Snow and Stratton Mountain ski areas nearby, Podunk now attracts vast vacation homes for skiers. Though Podunk is not an especially significant place, it is one with an interesting history, one that currently is being paved over by oblivious gentrification.


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I've learned a few things while taking outdoor shots for LHF backgrounds:

1. I should NOT use regular AA batteries or regular rechargables for my camera. My camera eats them quickly. Lithium ion ones are the best. Sources say that they last a lot longer.

2. I should not take pictures at night time. Pictures at night time on the street usually have two colors: black and BILIOUSLY YELLOW [from the streetlights].

3. There are four meteorological conditions that provide an acceptable substitute for night time: right around sunrise, right around sunset, cloudy [but not rainy] weather and rainy weather. All of these conditions balance my need for distinguishable detail with my need for a sense of dimness. Anyone who claims that sunrise, sunset, clouds and/or rain make backgrounds that are "too light" for my characters will be summarily ignored.

4. I should not take too many pictures with snow on the ground, since this dates the pictures too obviously in winter. Instead, I should take pictures with bare ground.

5. Pictures with green leaves can successfully signify late spring, summer and early fall. Green leaves have a broad applicability of dates.

6. Pictures with brown, yellow, red or orange leaves successfully signify fall and early winter. Fall leaves tend to date pictures too narrowly.

7. Pictures with no leaves can successfully signify fall, winter and early spring. Pictures with no leaves have a broad applicability of dates.

8. I should avoid taking pictures of people, but sometimes they will get in front of my camera.  Fortunately, if they keep moving, they will blur, so they are easy to anonymize.

9. Pictures should never, ever, ever, EVER be taken inside a business, including one's workplace, even with permission from the head honchos. Pictures may be taken inside the private homes of friends and family with permission.

10. Pictures at the following locations are best taken early in the week, when crowds aren't so large: parks, gardens, squares, campuses, malls, stores, sidewalks and streets in general.

11. However, pictures at the following locations are best taken early in the morning on the weekends, when almost no one is there: subway station exteriors, subway station interiors, subway car interiors.

12. Cemeteries are in their own category as far as scheduling photos. The best times to photograph them are on weekdays early in the morning and early in the evening. The heavily trafficked Granary and Kings Chapel cemeteries in Park Street should ideally be shot just after opening or just before closing because, unfortunately, they are locked at night, and, during the day, they attract hordes of tourists.

13. Background shots should be simply framed from simple angles, such as front view, side views from both sides, back view and maybe some three-quarters views. Side views from both sides should be taken so that the characters can have some variety to stand in front of. Background shots are not about artsiness or individual details, but about a sense of place.

14. Background shots should capture the distinguishing feel of a place, but they do not need to be comprehensive. E.g., photos of Central Square do not need to get the Town Hall and the view toward Boston and the aboveground entrances to Central Station and all the bus shelters and the crosswalks and the painted utility covers and all the benches.... Likewise, photos of the Old Burying Ground in Cambridge do not need to cover every single inch of the cemetery.
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In the Farber Gravestone Collection, the American Antiquarian Society collects over 13,000 images of pre-1800 gravestones, many in Massachusetts. Daniel and Jessie Farber were photographers active in the early 20th century. The collection also incorporates the work of other gravestone photographers. It's very Massachusetts-based. More later after I poke.
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Preachers, Patriots and Plain Folks, sold by the Association for Gravestone Studies, covers the Granary, King's Chapel and Central cemeteries in Boston. Chow is buried in Central.

The Log of the Union
is a log of a global circumnavigation by Chow's employer, Captain John Boit Jr., in 1794-1796.

Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem Village is an educated reconstruction of Tituba's life before, during and after the Salem witch trials.

Food for the Dead is about rural New Englanders' folk medicine against the threat of tuberculosis. Absinthe's corpse was burned in this tradition.


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Photographic evidence that you can repel a zombie invasion by separating them from you with copious amounts of ordinary garden mulch. Presumably something in the mulch hastens their decomposition so that they literally fall to pieces in minutes, unable to attack you and feed upon your flesh.

I imagine an entire horror garden of such sinking statues. A great variation on the rising zombie would be a person at the base of a tree, trying desperately to extricate him/herself from invisible quicksand. You could see deep scoring lines in the trunk where he/she had dug in his/her fingers in a futile attempt to get free from the hungry ground. Another awesome variation, usable only in winter, would look like a person flattened against a window, only you'd put it at the bottom of your pond so the person would appear to be smothered under the ice in the winter. There could also be statues that look like they are trapped in the trunks of old, cavernous trees a la Merlin, statues that look like they have been run over with glacial boulders, even statues that look like they've been stabbed with fence posts! The possibilities are endless!

Someone needs to get this statue and then do a photoshoot in a cemetery.

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Coming soon from Sideshow Toys, which is radically inconsistent in terms of quality from toy to toy, is the dead cute zombie babysitter. I personally think she just became a vampire while being consumed by flesh-eating bacteria, so her decay was halted, but so was her healing. Yuck.

Quality-wise, this conception looks pretty good with head in-scale...but why are there bendy arms? Why ruin a perfectly good fig with arms that can't do anything?

Scutwork

Nov. 5th, 2007 12:37 pm
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Today's phrase is "the scutwork of the flesh," from Alison Bechdel's pretentious but fascinating graphic memoir Fun Home. She uses the phrase to refer to the minutiae of embalming that her father did when he ran the family funeral home. It's a perfect word; it sounds foundational and visceral at the same time, as if it involves ploughing through muddy trenches or the furrows of an open abdominal cavity, trudging with dismal work. It also has a Shakespearean sound. "Poor forked creatures..." I think that phrase is from Shakespeare, but I can't find out wherefrom.

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GOOD magazine provides a comic view at the death industry. My favorite part is that all the employees of the death industries are shown as ancient Egyptian jackal-headed gods of the underworld Anubis.
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Using only a few photos and some digital props, I am going to artistically recreate a 3-D set of the Old Burying Ground in Cambridge, my favorite cemetery, and then force my characters to hang out in it because I slaved so hard over it. This is, of course, assuming that my computer doesn't go totally hemorrhageous from all those high-res textures.

My photos will be of the actual cemetery, hopefully projected using the Cyclorama. I have a sarcophagus prop, several gravestone props [with lichen!] and a Spooky Tree [TM] prop. Eventually my characters will be able to sit on top of the sarcophagus and at the base of the Spooky Tree. Oh yeah, and there's a Light Dome to make it look like night.

I would really love to make an aerial view of Will curled up on the ground next to a gravestone, sleeping with his teddy bear and smiling. :D :D

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Morbid Anatomy is a compendium of posts about medical and death-related art, such as post-mortem photos, anatomical waxes and ecorches [engravings of partly flayed people showing musculature]. Off I go to waste my lunch hour. Janet would definitely have some of this stuff in her lab alongside the Kraftwerk posters. 

EDIT: The links from Morbid Anatomy are most instructive and detailed. For example, The Fantastic in Art and Fiction is a bank of thematically grouped images [Madness & Possession, Angels & Demons, the Grotesque] from across the centuries, supplemented with lists of scholarly studies, literary works, plastic arts and movies that pertain to the theme. There are many wonderfully freaky out-of-copyright images here that would be great for indie authors illustrating their own book covers.
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Pushin' Daisies is a mortuary store with funeral, death, vampire, skull, etc. sort of novelties. Hooray for hearse earrings, Dios de los Muertos shot glasses, tombstone-shaped soaps and little chocolate coffins with little chocolate skeletons inside. Clearly meant for the casual cemetery nerd (viz., no serious books about cemetery iconography in "The Grim Reader" section), this is nevertheless amusing. Now, in case you want to make your own coffin, which can serve as a "beautiful blanket chest or coffee table" before holding you, you know where to buy the book.

P.S. I ordered We So Seldom Look On Love from half.com. The shipping was more than the price of the book. Half.com: where cheap-ass bibliophiles shop.

P.P.S. Because I'm in a morbid mood, today's word is "trocar." A trocar is a big sharp hollow needle that an embalmer sticks into a corpse's abdomen after the blood has been replaced with embalming fluid. At first the trocar is attached to a suction pump via hose to slurp out organs and body tissue. When that's done, the trocar is hooked up to a bottle of cavity fluid and waved around in the abdomen to fill the space where the organs were. The incision site is plugged up with a plastic plug called a trocar button. There. You should now be both nauseated and edified. I know I sure am.
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Kissed, the movie mentioned in my July 3rd entry, came in the mail on Monday, and I watched it. I'm only now reviewing it because I was busy priming and painting Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kissed, a closely focused movie with very few extras or characterological background, is a character study of two characters who are debatably nuts, yet perfect for each other.

Despite the inherent unlikeability of the characters, Kissed is an interesting, solid movie. It's by no means as artistic, philosophical, psychologically profound and daring as it thinks it is, but it's interesting and saved largely by convincing performances. The acting is all-around low-key, underplayed, even a bit deadpan [hah], which keeps the story from becoming sensationalized. The lack of extras [never have I seen a more desolate college campus] mars the realism, but also adds a dreamy, depupulated atmosphere to the story, demonstrating how much Sandra and Matt are focused on things besides the real world. The languid camera work and the poetic voice-overs add a meditative mood to the proceedings, though there are far too many fade-to-the-white-light-of-transcendent-orgasm shots. Also, the voice-overs could have been used much more parsimoniously, at the beginning, the end and during the extended childhood flashback of Sandra's. 

Apparently Kissed is based on a short story, "We So Seldom Look on Love," by Barbara Gowdy. I'll have to look into it. Maybe it provides some history for Sandra and Matt.

Kissed

Jul. 3rd, 2007 04:01 pm
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This 1996 film about necrophilia looks possibly interesting. It strongly reminds me of a vampire film. I need some more interesting movies in my life. I'm in a good movie drought right now.

EDIT: I just bought it from half.com because neither Hollywood Express nor Blockbuster had it. [Well, Hollywood Express had it on tape, but the world don't run on VHS any more.] I wonder why I think less about purchasing DVDs than I do purchasing books. 

While I'm purchasing movies about sexual deviations, maybe I should also get a copy of Secretary, you know, just to fondle. I really haven't been rewatching any favorite movies recently.

On the subject of paraphilias, I wonder when that movie about bestiality with horses will come out on DVD.

"Deviancy" is one of my favorite words, deriving from the Latin "de" = "away from" and "via" = "road." Literally it means going off-road [or what happens when you get really lost on a car ride]. Though the adjective gets a derogatory inflection most of the times it is used, it is actually a neutral descriptor. I find it equally applicable for discussion of road trips, recipes, political leanings and sexual predelictions.
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Confidential to the people who are encouraging me to get Elfdoll Tiny Adel: You're not helping my resolve! :p

In other news, I get pickier and pickier over my photos. Yesterday I happened to be waiting for the bus in Medford Square, right next to ye olde cemeterie of Medford, also known as Medford Burying Ground. Since the sun was setting, I hopped across the road to capture the bright light and long shadows. Read more... )
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Sorry... You aren't going to see it. Ever since I've been amassing a portfolio for my gallery show, I've been feeling awfully proprietary of my cemetery photos. I really doubt people would plagiarize them, but you never can be sure...which is why I keep the best ones on my hard drive.

Anyway, I took advantage of an incredibly sunny day yesterday to shoot some photos in King's Chapel around noon. Though younger than the Granary across the way, King's Chapel seems much less tended. Perhaps that's because it's on a downhill slope that makes the lowest part of the cemetery just a big leach field. Perhaps it's because more of the stones were made of sandstone, which erodes easily. I think fewer people go to King's Chapel, even though it, like the Granary, is on the heavily trafficked Freedom Trail, so people spend less time keeping it up.

They do have the best stone, though, right by the entrance. It's an intricate carving in which a skeleton holds a spear and a candle snuffer, ready to extinguish the candle of life, which is sitting upon a globe. Behind the skeleton stands Father Time, an old bearded man, with his scythe. Unfortunately, you're not going to see that either, at least not until I figure out how to manipulate the image so you can see all the detail in the carving. I promise I'll show it to you, though. It's impressive!

What you are going to see is a macro of a much longer epitaph on a woman's grave, entitled Somebody Loved Her. I don't think I need to explain the title. Read more... )
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In honor of the resurrection of spring and Jesus, here's my favorite photo from Friday's Granary shoot. Read more... )
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Jennifer ran on ahead of me today and got lost in the Granary Burying Ground. When I found her, she dragged me on her own little tour. Read more... )
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Cemeteries have a certain quiet power to them that I enjoy, especially the old ones like First Parish Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, where the earliest stones date from the 1680s. It looks like a lawn full of old grey rocks or a garden growing stone. It's a perfect place to wander and muse in.

Bending a little closer to look at the tombstones, though, I'll find messages from the past. Memento mori. Be mindful of death. Memento te esse mortalem. Remember that you are mortal.

Then it strikes me that I'm walking on history. The city I live in was built upon the bones of people who died generations ago. All that's left of them now are the stories on their stones and the ground they have fertilized. Hundreds of years separate them and me, but I'm really not so far of them. Here there's just six feet of earth between them and me.

I stand in the present, but, in the cemetery, I'm so close to the past. I can see its quiet shift and rot and spring in the sink of the muddy ground and the surge of the buds of the trees. I can read it in the faded Latin of the epitaphs. I can even touch it in the rough, rounded, worn edges of the tombstones. I feel more a part of history, more a part of time, here in the cemetery.

This is why I find cemeteries so beautiful: the close, poignant juxtaposition of life and death. First Parish may look like just a place full of old carvings, but it's holy ground. Photos in regular light don't bring out the striking power of the place. But draining the photos of color or inverting them does evoke a haunting starkness. And then you realize that the cemetery is indeed another world, at once foreign and familiar. Read more... )
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Inspired by my cemetery notes to myself, Jareth and Jennifer were talking this evening. Now presenting your USRDA of angst-free entertainment! Read more... )
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Granary Burial Ground: Find stone with mermen and frogs. Take good pictures.

King's Chapel Cemetery: Take good photos of the Death / Father Time stones with globe and candle.

Mount Auburn Cemetery: Go with Steph!

The only one in Somerville: Show people peeking through the bars [even if we can't get in].

Forest Hills: Probably with Jennifer, since the high surveillance gets suspicious about people carrying around big dolls and cameras.

That one in Arlington on Broadway: Walk there some sunny weekend.

Ones in Salem: Find stones associated with witchcraft trials.

Mountain View: Find dolphins, elephants and other unusual animals. Do an "animal tour?"

Essex Common: Hands, wrought-iron fences. Read more... )
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Once upon a time, I fell in love with Boston's Chinatown. Devoted to its yummy, cheap restaurants and fascinating import shops, I decided to learn more about one of the city's most distinctive neighborhoods. I began to search the library and the Web for information on the history of Chinese immigrants in Boston and unearthed a much cooler story than I ever could have hoped. Read more... )
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Jennifer and I hopped on the T this morning. I had my camera in my jacket, and she carried her sketchbook and pencil in her duffel bag. We rode on the T to the Central Burying Ground in Boston Common... Read more... )
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Ever since I read Doing Cemetery Research, I've been digging a little more into the subject of graves. On a whim, I decided to look up information about three of my favorite cemeteries: Essex Common Burial Ground and Mountain View Cemetery, both in Essex, VT, and Addoms Hagar Burial Ground, in Plattsburgh, NY. Surprisingly enough, all three of them have been transcribed, the Essex ones by James Cutler, a local genealogist, the Plattsburgh one by the Church of Latter-Day Saints [huh?!]. Read more... )
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I've been reading many books about death and cemeteries. The best that I have come across is Your Guide to Cemetery Research. Read more... )
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I checked out a bunch of books about death and cemeteries last night and read through one of them, Cemetery Stories, by Katherine Ramsland, quickly. Riding the mainstreaming of Goth lite, Ramsland skims over the death trade [coroners, embalmers, morticians, gravediggers, etc.], ghost stories and sick stuff people do with dead bodies. Rant below about the supposed connections between people who take pictures of gravestones and people who screw corpses. Read more... )
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Brandeis visited the First Parish Cemetery in Cambridge today. Founded in 1636, the First Parish Church has an adjoining cemetery that’s crammed with the coolest variety of sarcophagi and headstone iconography in the metro area. Today she and I are just focusing on a part of it: the different types of sarcophagus. Read more... )

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