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Photographing Cemeteries and Exploring Their Beauty

Photographers are always looking for something new to invigorate their photography. Sometimes visiting the same old haunts or taking the same types of photographs can get stale. When I mention that I love visiting historic cemeteries, I get quite a few strange looks. Some consider it a bit morbid. Others, uncomfortable with the subject of death, can’t seem to fathom going to a cemetery unless they have no choice! Suffice to say that the notion of visiting a cemetery is not usually at the top of people’s “Things I Would Most LikeTo Do This Weekend” lists!

1) Why Cemeteries?

It may be that having a cemetery just beyond my backyard fence or being within a 5 minute walk of another for much of my youth caused me to think of and look at cemeteries a bit differently than most. I never considered them spooky, haunting, or intimidating in any way. To the contrary, I was always fascinated by the older gravestones and more elaborate sculptures. I found cemeteries to be peaceful and calming – quite the opposite from how many are portrayed in television and films.

. St. Mary's Cemetery

Cemeteries have always been some of my favorite place to jog or walk, since they tend to get very little traffic, almost all of which is moving at a snail’s pace. I found that reading the various gravestones and contemplating the lives of the departed seemed to take my mind off whatever ache or pain I might have had at the moment. When I rekindled my passion for photography in 2008, I naturally gravitated (no pun intended!) to some of the more scenic cemeteries around our home and along our travel routes.

Why should you consider exploring cemeteries with your camera? Here are a few reasons: