Brian's Question, 7 August 2022

Are there any examples for any of you of things dead and gone that have, and maybe still are powerful influences or reminders in your life? Perhaps even a monument to an event that resonates deeply? Or a custom that might be dead from you past? or something dead that has been powerful to you in the past, but that has changed now?

For me, the experiences that resonate most poignantly are located in several years of deep engagement with graveyards, summarized in my 2016 Blurb book Remembered: a graveyard book (you can use that link to view or download a pdf of the book), and continued until overtaken by rock portraiture in 2018 or so. The graveyard photographs include many from Père Lachaise and Montparnasse cemeteries in Paris, from Mount Auburn in Cambridge MA (which I first explored when I was 8-9, and have returned to many times), and a sampling of Midcoast graveyards.

What I've drawn from this passion for the Memorial and Marmoreal is the sense of being caught up in the lives of the departed—and the profound realization that EVERY life is a story, and that their forebears and loved ones matter to those left behind.

Every headstone is a drama, a bit of Reality (real, or constructed/imagined), even after the descendants themselves have Passed Over. I have felt myself powerfully affected by many specific memorial markers, and been brought to some valuable realizations and even epiphanies. Perhaps a modest gallery will elucidate, but first ... the concluding lines of Middlemarch:

...the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive:
for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts;
and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been,
is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life,
and rest in unvisited tombs.


There's a Flickr photo album with a thousand or so images, and don't miss the Colma CA pet cemetery set.

A selection:

Sarawak Anglican Cemetery, Christmas 1965:
Christmas Eve, Anglican cemetery







Lower Horton Cemetery, Nova Scotia

duct tape disagreement

Old Cemetery, Lincoln MA


Seaside Cemetery, Tenants Harbor

Gyorgy Kepes


and heed the warnings about eating library paste...