I find myself this month on the precipice of a fourth year writing the Cemetery Traveler blog. Yes, its been three solid years of my dark tourism adventures. By my count, 132 articles have been published since I began in May of 2010. Have I run out of things to say? No, but my laptop gave up the ghost last week. Had to go out and get a new one. All that lives is born to die, sigh (except sourdough yeast, I suppose). Hopefully, I won’t upset this one as much as I abuse it verbally while I am forced to learn Windows 8.
I have over 100 followers now, a fact that humbles me and of which I am deeply honored. Thank you all for reading and I dare say, you are now prepared for your next step in the indoctrination.
At the beginning of April, 2013, I had an exhibit of my work in Philadelphia that I called “Symptoms of Cemetery Photography" (click link to go to that blog posting). I meant it as a nod toward the way cemetery photography has influenced my art and techniques in the photographic medium. That in itself is a later blog. For now, I just want to acknowledge how making cemetery photography has opened up tangential doors for me. I also want to acknowledge the people who have made these opportunities possible for me.
So, here are a few highlights from last season, places I’ve gone both literally and figuratively, through The Cemetery Traveler – symptoms, as it were, of my cemetery photography:
•Grandma's New Headstone
•The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery
|Ed (L) with "Find-a-Grave" administrator, Russ Dodge (photo by A. Selletti)|
Book cover – I had given permission to the British Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research organization to use one of my photographs for the cover of its February 2013 Journal (JCFAR) issue “On Love.” Cupid and Psyche never looked so fine!
|Diana (top) and Holga cameras|
|B'nai Israel/Hebrew Mutual Burial Ground in West Philadelphia|
|Monument cemetery stone|
|Finding lost graves|
The aforementioned experiences are after the fact, retrospective studies. Finding graves in the here and now is a new experience for me, and one which I wrote about in the aforementioned blog, “Finding Lost Graves.” I have been afforded this opportunity through my involvement with the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, and I must say that it is a truly rewarding experience.
So, these are just a few things I’ve covered this past year in the Cemetery Traveler blog. If you missed any postings, I invite you to go back into the archives and look them up (you can type in a keyword or phrase in the “Search” box at the top left corner of the page).
“The world is a lot more complicated than most people believe,” wrote Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett in their novel, Good Omens (1990). Cemetery photography, for me, has been a good omen, which has resulted in a variety of complications, or symptoms, about some of which you have just read. (By the way, since I had to create a password for my new laptop, I incorporated the words “Good Omen” into it.)
What, There’s More?
Yes. I intend to continue to draw aside the veil and explore the mysteries of dark tourism for as long as I possibly can. I’ll continue to ask the hard questions and point out the ironies in our attitudes toward death and mourning, calling it the way I see it. Occasionally this gets me into hot water with the irascible types, but the investigative reporter side of me steps in and tries to point out both sides of the argument (if there are any).
Happy to say that my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter Olivia seems to be following in my footsteps. I took her gallery-hopping this past First Friday in Philadelphia and as we walked into a particular moodily-lit place, she spoke her mind. The gallery was showing photographic “scenes from the Chelsea Hotel” (in New York) and a sign outside said they were going to be showing Warhol’s movie “Chelsea Girls.” The gallery was crowded with serious-minded bohemian-looking mods, talking art as only artists of that type can. As we walked into their midst, Olivia said in a loud voice, “Do they have snacks?” Man, did THAT cut through the affectation!
Purchase Ed's book, Digital Photography for the Impatient, from Amazon.com.