When I first took up photography a few years ago I was in full time employment in a different profession & found it difficult to get out shooting as much as I wanted; generally down to three factors: lack of time, adverse weather conditions & fatigue. Fortunately, just two minutes walk from where I lived in Ladywell, south London, was a beautiful cemetery which proved to be the perfect playground for me to get to grips with the rudiments of photography.
The results of my early forays into engaging with an environment & exploring the boundaries of my photographic abilities are concentrated into this weeks blog.
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Ladywell & Brockley Cemetery is a sprawling area of 37 acres & maintained as a protected area for wildlife as well as having sections which are landscaped. It is an extensive enough cemetery to get lost in, having several entrances & offering a space conducive to resting & soaking up the energies emanating from the ample overgrown greenery & great variety of trees.
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Often when I was shooting in the cemetery the weather was not so clement, but instead offered a more moody atmosphere in which to capture the stone markers of the current residents of the space...
...but also when the days were bright & the seasons colours were displayed the atmosphere was vibrant & stimulating to the senses...
I purchased a Fuji X100 one winter a few years ago, a 1950's rangefinder style body equipped with top notch modern digital technology. The first shoot I did with it was in Ladywell Cemetery while it was snowing. The air was crisp & cold & the atmosphere perfect.
As you might expect not everyone passes through life & ends theirs in a satisfactory way. One such person was Jane Maria Clouson, who's untimely demise at the hands of a nefarious murderer created much uproar at the time. The link I provided offers you a historical account of events surrounding her death, in which her named assailant was, outrageously, eventually cleared of the murder.
Jane was, however, a popular young orphan girl in the neighbourhood & upon her death the local community contributed monies towards the erection of a memorial, that being a stone praying child mounted atop a pedestal. The monument stands apart from the rest of the rows of grave stones, in a small clearing surrounded by trees & facing the sunset.
Apparently in so much agony from her wounds the last words she spoke were: "Oh let me die!" which is inscribed on her memorial.
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