12 February 2015

Necropolis

A burial site or cemetery. From necro- death and polis- city.

City of death.


Let me back up a bit.


Last semester, I took my first photography class; I really enjoyed it, but, if I'm being honest, I didn't put as much work into it as I should have. Most of my assignments were taken, edited, and printed the day before or the day they were due; most of them were taken in my poorly lit apartment. I did well on most of them, but not as well as I would have liked.

So for my final project, I wanted to:
  • Improve my grade (obviously)
  • Take myself out of my comfort zone
  • And create something completely different than anything before.
The project was to create a seven-photo series, about anything we wanted. I set to work brainstorming.

Inspiration came from the cemetery that lies behind my apartment complex. (My complex actually sits between two cemeteries so no matter which direction I go, I have to pass one.) I thought to myself, Who builds a cemetery two blocks away from a university? I turned to Google, and was not disappointed.

It was a Hebrew cemetery, established in 1878 by the Hebrew Benevolent Society. The land has been in use since then, and is still used today; there are 410 interments.

So now I had my topic, but what did I want to communicate about it? I set about searching for cemetery/grave-related words, hoping something would spark in my mind.

And that brings us back to necropolis.

From that, I found the world of cemetery tourism- taphophilia: a passion or enjoyment of cemeteries.

And that freakin' blew my mind. People go to cemeteries simply for pleasure? Whoa. So I decided to try it. Armed with my camera, I ventured through the gates.

It was strangely peaceful. Something about the air within the fence felt different than the air without it. The headstones were all beautifully carved, particular some of the upright markers.

Yeah, I could see why a cemetery could attract a tourist. I went every day for a week and took tons of photos, eventually settling on the six I'd use for my project:

So why do people go to cemeteries?


To visit loved ones.
To admire architecture.



Cemeteries represent 
a link
between life...
...and death.

























(Note: these are my RAW images converted into JPEGS; the final product was a series of black-and-white prints which underwent some intense editing. But the black-and-white files look nothing like the prints; as such, I've decided to stick with the original photos.)

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