This is an image that I have always loved, and it was a happy accident. After traveling through Europe, I came home with a giant pile of film that needed to be developed. I was still in my early days with photography and most of what I brought home was absolute garbage – but I shot enough film that I ‘lucked’ my way into a few decent images.
While I was in the darkroom, drawing my first prints from the Paris Cemetery rolls, somebody came in and flipped the lights on, not knowing that I was there. When this happens while a print is being lifted, it can create an effect known as ‘solarization,’ where the light short-circuits the developing process because the printing-out paper is still light sensitive. That’s why the highlight areas of this image are a neutral gray with what appear to be glowing edges.
I can’t even recall whose tomb this is; I just remember that the carving grabbed my attention and I took a photograph of it. Maybe somebody out there knows – let me know in the comments.
“Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.”
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A stroll through the graveyard can do wonders.
Ever since I was in high school, I would go out of my way to walk the rows and read the headstones. I’m not sure why, but the company of the dead can be delightful and soothing. Rapscallions, ruffians, and other forms of ne’er–do–well manage to cobble together some civility in the graveyard; I have yet to see an individual act the fool in such a place. The grounds feel calm and safe.
I made this image on a camera I haven’t yet mentioned during Film February – the Yashica Twin Lens Reflex (TLR). It’s a wonderful two-lens camera (obviously) with a few fine-tune controls that allow for selective focus and a variety of shutter speeds in order to capture dynamic scenes with an accurate, properly-exposed shot.
I certainly don’t celebrate the decapitated head of a child-savior, but it caught my eye. It seemed poetically appropriate, as the statue seemed to represent, on a smaller scale, what a cemetery represents on a larger scale – everything falls apart, and nothing lasts forever. We also might want to remind ourselves that Mary The Blessed Virgin outlived her extremist rabble-rouser of a son, which also makes this image ironically apropos.