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Uploaded 19 Nov 2007 — 2 favorites
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© Bronwen Hyde
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

At the age of fourteen on a "round the world" trip with my family we visited the St Louis No 1 Cemetery in New Orleans.

From that point onward I developed a fascination with graveyards and cemeteries, and when I started seriously pursuing photography they became one of my favourite subjects.

Much can be learnt about a city or town and its history and former inhabitants through its burial places.

There is great art and beauty in the headstones, statues and tombs. An art that is being replaced more and more by generic plaques and markers due to the expense of such ornamentation and the increase in people choosing to be cremated rather than buried.

The various ways different cultures bury their dead, and mourn the death or celebrate the life of a loved one who has now passed on, is also something that I find fascinating.

Many cemeteries throughout the world are now full or only have plots remaining that are already reserved.

I have no interest in being buried myself, as I would not wish to put the financial and emotional burden on my family and friends to feel that they must maintain a grave or visit a specific place to remember me once I am gone.

However I find cemeteries to be a sanctuary where I can quietly wander through and photograph the details that catch my eye, and escape the rush of the everyday.

Friends who go on day trips with me or whom I visit in other places know that at some point they will find themselves in a graveyard with me whilst I indulge my photographic obsession.

One day I was even locked in a cemetery alone at closing time because I was so absorbed with taking photographs that I lost track of the time.

Cemeteries with their crumbling statues, collapsed headstones and ornate fences oxidised by the weather are yet another reminder to me that, as much as we would like to believe otherwise, we are just passing through.

Nature will eventually reclaim the "permanent" monuments and markers we erect.

We are not immortal.

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