Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

Had lunch with Alcy and swung by the Veteran's Cemetery on the way home. Late mid-day was not the best time but the shadows were longer than I expected. Didn't get anything spectacular but I am glad I stopped. The graves are grouped by the year of death. The 2013 area is just east of the entrance. That is not an area where I have photographed before. 

There is always a question of poignancy when photographing in a cemetery. It is difficult to get poignancy into a straight photograph unless the viewer is willing to really look at what is being seen--that seldom, in my opinion happens. I am just not sure we have developed a good way to look at photographs and there are too many different types of photographs that require different readings. It is difficult to tell which is which so straight photographs are most frequently seen as simply documentation. I know that I often have a problem with that and I suspect that most people do. Part of that comes from the fact that photographs are seldom seen or discussed as anything more than the subject matter depicted.

Today I concentrated mostly on the new graves in the 2013 section. I have no idea how many graves there are, should have made a rough count. There are a number of headstones already in place but almost half of the graves are still marked by funeral home markers. There is no grass covering the graves yet which really makes the area stand out.

I tried several things in the 2013 section. First I wanted to emphasize that the graves are new, recent. There were four fresh graves probably within the last week. I worked with those. I worked with the funeral home markers. I worked with the small number of memorials placed on the new graves for the holiday. There was much there that I personally found poignant.

In the fifty plus thousand burials in the cemetery, to me the photograph above stands out--just one more added to the thousands. The funeral home marker, the new kid on the block, almost seems insecure in the presence of the gravestones. Flags decorated thousands of the graves near the entrance, but not the entire cemetery. There were no flags on the fifty or so graves without headstones. Here are some of the other photographs from the 2013 section.

The photograph below is something that I have not seen at the cemetery before, the funeral home marker with the headstone. I could not read it at the cemetery but I made an assumption that the marker was for a spouse that had died recently. On examining  the photograph on the monitor the marker has the same information as is engraved on the stone. Not sure why it is still there.

In the 2009 section I noticed this obviously fresh grave and a headstone that seems newer than the ones nearby. This serviceman's spouse passed away in 2009, which was the original grave. He passed away this year. When the gravesite has dual interments the spouses information is engraved on the reverse of the stone. In this case, since there was only one burial the stone listed the information for the spouse. Now that he has passed away, the new headstone list his information and the spouses information has been transferred to the back.

I would love to be able to get a photograph that gives some sense of the number of graves in the cemetery. I often try as I shoot in different sections but it is impossible. The terrain is uneven, there are numerous trees that obscure sections. The shots below are about as good as I have been able to do. I did shoot a couple of panoramas today, which I think is the only way that might possibly work to give a true feeling of the quantity of graves . However, now I need software to process them.

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