Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Photographing in the Cemetery Today

For the last two days I've been going to the cemetery and photographing. It is the celebration for Day of the Dead. When I first started photographing this event, maybe twenty years ago it was unheard of in the USA. And if you told people about it, they seemed to think it was a very strange custom. Now it is, if not common in the States, at least most people know about it. I think it is such a wonderful custom. A time to remember loved ones.
It is always interesting to me to see who else is photographing in the cemetery and to see what kind of equipment they are carrying. There were two men with huge telephoto lenses on their DSLR's on top of tripods and another camera hanging from their shoulder. They were standing on the walk and trying to stay out of the way. It was really almost impossible to set up the tripod on the walk and if they went in among the graves it would be impossible. There are no walkways through the graves and it is difficult to find a place to put your feet much less a tripod.

As we came down the road to the cemetery I noticed a woman who was just standing to one side with her camera in her hand and scanning what was passing by. She was ready to bring her camera to her eye if something interested her. I saw her again as we were leaving. She had moved to a different location but still waiting for her "decisive moments." That is the way I like to shoot in the cemetery as well. I think you need to blend into the crowd, be mobile and make connections when you can. It is very chaotic riot of colors and people and difficult light.

It is hard for me to make a good photograph of the overall scene so I usually try to make images of bits and pieces and hope that the "set" of images tells the story. Maybe one of these days I'll get around to going through the last 10 years of shoots and make an album of what I think is my Best of Day of the Dead images. Or  maybe I'll just spend my time making more images. That is the fun part.


4 comments:

Tancho said...

Great Photos, It seems that there is a lot more publicity of the DOD NOB now, maybe because of the influx of immigrants or a new profit center for merchants.

Billie said...

Tancho, I think you hit the nail on the head....
A New Profit Center for Merchants!

Laurie Matherne said...

Great photos as usual. I recall in the not so distant past when November 1 was a day to honor the dead in south Louisiana with flowers and cleaning and even a bit of a party atmosphere. That's gone. Just the tourist tours of cemeteries now.

Heather said...

Yes, it is a beautiful custom. Love the pics!