Journal Entry: 31 March 2012

I collected another nine images from a cemetery – this time at Snug – a Catholic cemetery. Very different in feel to the one at Sandfly Road – many more grave embellishments such as Virgin Mary’s etc.

The setting is very open, and light – when I left home it was cloudy and turning to late afternoon so I thought I might be able to get some interesting images in that type of light. When I arrived however the cloud cover was gone and the sunlight felt quite harsh, bouncing off the cement and stone of the graves.

What I learnt/need to explore further:

  • Not to assume that bright conditions won’t work – I like the long shadows on one of the photos which shows little objects placed on a cement grave. Makes a strong contrast to the white birds and angel.
  • I think it is OK to just take pictures if if the light is not suitable so you have a catalogue of what’s there so you can return in more favourable conditions.
  • Taking photo’s with names and dates and personal messages feels too voyeuristic to me and potentially damaging to others. I want my images to feel personal, yet not invasive of others grief.
  • Focus – I’m drawn to recording the additions on the graves, the flowers and objects placed by loved one’s, not the artistry of the graves themselves (though they are often stunning). Got to explore ways to include hints of the context without distracting from the ‘love’ items left behind.
  • I like to increase the depth of field when there is debris, or signs of decay in the background – and natural elements like fallen leaves, bark. Places these ‘unnatural’ objects in a natural context. Also heavily ornamented images where there are a lot of ‘knick knacks’ and details to explore.
  • f14 aperture for one of my photos where you can see ‘hazy’ gravestones in the background was a good tool for placing the ‘flowers’ in their setting.
  • One thing I’m noticing is that I’m scanning the dates and details on the graves as I look at these objects, wondering who is still leaving things here, and who is still remembering the person in the grave. This can be interesting as the person could have died 50 years ago yet still have fresh flowers… and I’m noticing those that have died recently often have the most objects, though some have nothing at all. My images don’t examine this timeline. Is it even relevant or just a point of interest for me?
  • Tried to find Anne McDonald images of graves on Bett Gallery website – nothing there. Need to find other artists…. Art School library here I come….
  • Research flora and still life photography – effectively this is like floral photography even if most of the objects are made of synthetic non-perishable materials.

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