Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

As I've mentioned before, I enjoy photographing in cemeteries. The architecture of the monuments and statuary fascinate me.

What better time to post an image from a cemetery. It's Memorial Day weekend.

For many — probably most — Memorial Day means a three-day weekend and extra time off. It can also mean the start of the summer vacation season, as families and individuals head out for a first voyage away to celebrate the end of the long winter.

But Memorial Day also means remembering and honoring loved ones who have taken the last, greatest voyage of all. Every year, when Memorial Day rolls around, I spend some time thinking about my father.

He's really the one who sparked my first interest in photography. I recall many a long night, standing with him in the old coal room he'd converted to a darkroom in the home I grew up in.

I can remember the smell of the chemicals and the glow of the amber/red safelight as we stood there, moving wet photographic paper from tray to tray. I can remember the thrill I felt, watching that first black-and-white image appear, as if by magic, as the chemical change happened, altering the paper from a potential photograph to a finished print.

Photography has changed since then. Now, I sit at a computer, manipulating pixels and electrons, instead of photons and chemicals. But the basic process is the same, I think. Photography is capturing a moment in time and preserving it for posterity.

I particularly like this image of the woman as she searches for the grave of a loved one among the hundreds of monuments. The late-afternoon light highlights and emphasizes the variety of colors in the flowers placed lovingly by family or friends, as if to say, "You're gone, but you're not forgotten."

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