Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Sacred to the Memory" Exhibit Opens to Fanfare

Well, the opening reception for our photography exhibit, “Sacred to the Memory,” at the Philadelphia Public Library was quite a hit. Thank you to the Library for the opportunity and the assistance you provided in making the exhibit such a success!

We had a hundred people or so show up for the Opening Reception on Sept. 16, 2013 and it was simply a joy talking with you all! Family, friends, colleagues, co-workers – all seemed to revel in the experience of the art and history of Philadelphia's Victorian cemeteries. Each cemetery had its own display case for artifacts related to their site, with wonderful backdrops made by the Library (great thanks to Lynn Washington for those!). The backdrops featured graphics and text provided by the representatives of each cemetery, who were all gracious enough to attend the opening: Paulette Rhone of the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc., Jessica Baumert and Erica Maust from The Woodlands, and Gwen Kaminski from Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Opening Reception attendees for "Sacred to the Memory" exhibit

Exhibition poster (18x24 inch)
The exhibit runs to November 1, 2013, so you have plenty of time to see it. All the matted photographs are for sale, as is the accompanying exhibition book and poster.  

A selection of Ed Snyder’s images can be seen at this link. Most prints are around 11x14 inch size in a standard 16x20 inch mat - suitable for framing. Prices vary, so please contact Ed at this email for specifics: You can also contact him about poster sales: $35 postpaid in continental U.S., with portion of sales being donated to the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery.

For a more complete description of the show, please see my past blog posting, “Exhibition Opens: Sacred to the Memory.

Portion of Laurel Hill exhibit

One of the touches we added a few days after the show opened was a bio sheet about the photographers – Ed Snyder, Robert Reinhardt, and Frank Rausch. During the week we were installing the exhibit, so many people passed through the hallway asking questions and expressing their admiration for the work. One day I was there by myself straightening things out and a gentleman asked (assuming I was just the installer), “Who are these people who made these wonderful images? It would be great to read something about the photographers themselves.” Hence the bio sheet! These bios are excerpted from our book, Sacred to the Memory - the Historic Cemeteries of Philadelphia, which accompanies the exhibition (available from

Book available as hard copy and eBook from

“Sacred to the Memory”

Artists: Frank Rausch, Robert Reinhardt, Ed Snyder

Frank Rausch  (contact:

Frank Rausch is self-taught, beginning with film format in earlier years to present day digital format. His photographic accomplishments include acceptance in numerous juried exhibits as well as having had several solo shows. His work is published in Laurel Hill Cemetery’s "175 Years Reflection Book" and also in West Laurel Hill "A Visual Guide 2009." His work has been published in Laurel Hill Cemetery brochures and currently is displayed on permanent cemetery signage. Frank's images are also part of many private collections. He is a guide for Laurel Hill Cemetery Lunar Stroll Night Photography Tours and Workshop, as well as a member of Photographic Society of Philadelphia.

Laurel Hill image by Frank Rausch
Being born and raised in beautiful New England inspired his interest in photography at an early age. Nature and Landscape photography were his first love, as his natural surroundings were a perfect background for developing his photographic skills. Through the years his photographic interests have broadened, of which cemetery photography has become a significant part. Through the use of Light, Composition, Texture and Subject he has been able to create images that bring awareness to the beauty and fragility of our cherished resting places as well as showing the necessity to restore and preserve these exquisite places for future generations to enjoy.

Robert Reinhardt  (contact:

The photographs displayed here represent the past five years of exploring sacred grounds in the historic cemeteries of Philadelphia, notably the area in and around Center City. These sites are extremely rich in visual treasure. From the first time I set foot in Laurel Hill Cemetery, I knew I had stumbled upon a subject that spoke to me on many different levels. Each site possesses a unique slice of the history, culture, religion, art and architecture of the time period in which it was created. These images attempt to bring to life a strength that lives on in these eternal monuments. The memorials seem almost indifferent to the elements that continue to wear at their surfaces and challenge their structural integrity. At the same time, nature is painting an entirely new palette in which they exist. It is the collision and contrast of that ongoing confrontation that draws me into these sites year after year.

Woodlands Cemetery display
After documenting these cemeteries for the past five years I feel my camera has recorded a small slice of Philadelphia’s history on digital files. I have dedicated myself to preserving those memories and voices from the past to be handed on for others to share into the future.

Woodlands image by Robert Reinhardt
Through the artistry of Robert Reinhardt, this exhibition is a beautiful visual record that explores inspiring and sensitive interconnections between the temporal elements of time and history and their relationship to the changing environment,” said Director of the Hofstra University Museum Beth E. Levinthal.

Reinhardt’s artwork is featured in many private and corporate collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Temple University, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and The Royal Commission of Historical and Ancient Monuments of Scotland. His work has been included in numerous exhibits at museums and galleries throughout the United States. Over the past years, Mr. Reinhardt has focused his attention and his camera on the historic cemeteries of Scotland.

Ed Snyder (contact:

Ed Snyder is a Philadelphia-based artist/photographer with more than a passing interest in the mourning arts. Since 1998, he has photographed and written about cemeteries across the U.S. and Italy. Simply put, his work merges art and photography with society’s need to come to terms with death and dying - that others find deeper and more personal meaning in his work is an unexpected gift. While his images are not always pretty, his photographs hold strong to Keats’ assertion that truth is beauty.

Snyder has exhibited and published extensively, with many of his images residing in personal and institutional collections (including that of the Warhol Family). His book, Stone Angels (, showcases some of this work.

Mount Moriah Cemetery exhibit case

The art and architecture found in stately Victorian cemeteries captured his initial interest, which later fueled a greater appreciation for the associated history and cultural practices. This in turn has evolved into an avocation to help with preservation, keeping sacred the memory of those who have gone before. This has led to Mr. Snyder’s current position as Chair of Communications and Technology for Philadelphia’s Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc. a volunteer non-profit organization honoring the memory of those interred through restoration, historic research, education and community engagement.

Mount Moriah image by Ed Snyder
His fifteen years' worth of experience is documented weekly in his blog, The Cemetery Traveler. His art and writings are also represented on his websites and other social media, e.g.,, and Ed Snyder's Stone Angels Photography (Facebook). Mr. Snyder has also authored the book, Digital Photography for the Impatient ( He is a member of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, InLiquid, DaVinci Art Alliance, The Plastic Club, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Association for Gravestone Studies.