A DIFFERENT KIND OF SHADOWLAND…

Posted: July 21, 2012 in Cemeteries, Details, Milwaukee
Tags: , , , ,

A few years ago, I ran across an online portfolio of Italian funerary art that was just breathtaking. Much to my dismay, this artistic experience could not be replicated locally.  Discounting Jesus, his mom, a few stray lambs and/or the random saint,  the cemetaries of Green Bay contain only a handful of statues.

This week, a two-hour visit to one of Milwaukee’s oldest cemeteries yielded enough material to keep me going for a while.

The day was absolutely perfect for shooting outdoors: gray and overcast, little wind and just-right temps. No glare, no shadows. And, despite its location smack-dab in the middle of a high-energy urban neighborhood, the cemetery was virtually deserted for the two hours we were there.

Originally, I simply wanted to capture the beauty of the figures: tilt of the head, a graceful pose, hands that rested quietly on a book or a wreath. I hadn’t been considering the art within its context. I don’t speak the language of Thanatos ( ummmm…would that be necropolitan?), but  I am sure that if I did, I’d discover that all of these memorials are chattering loudly, using  books, gestures or  downcast eyes to make their points.

I plan to listen more carefully.

Coming up: Milwaukee Beer Barons and their graves, with a Sausage King thrown in for balance.

Comments
  1. David says:

    These are really very wonderful, and you have done the justice!

  2. Thank you. Like most shoots, the first half hour or so is spent on racking up all cliches possible and then settling in to what is really speaking to you.

  3. Gretchen Passmore says:

    Lovely. I especially like seeing the “cropped” versions of statues and architecture. It gives a whole new view.

  4. jlheuer says:

    My favorites so far.

  5. Sue G. says:

    My favorite cemetery art is the tombstones carved into the shape of tree trunks. They fascinate me. I have photographed them all over the country.

  6. Sue G. says:

    These are beautifully textural, organic shots Pat!

  7. Love how the granite begs reaching in an touching. So sensual.

    • The piece as a whole is nice (deadly word!) but if you isolate/crop to just what shows here, I agree: very much alive. I’ve actually returned to this pictures many times, just to marvel at the movement. And to wonder at the artist’s mind…this isn’t a sexless, waiflike figure, but the figure of someone who is expressing deep, real and physical sorrow.

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