I started visiting cemeteries and graveyards more years ago than I care to remember. That said, right from the start I found myself interested in not only the names and inscriptions, but also in the funerary architecture on display. Most of my early shots were exposed on 35mm black and white film and then I started carrying a second camera loaded with colour slides. Thank heavens for digital as I now only need to carry one camera (or my trusty iPhone4).
In the 1980s, I got a job on a fortnightly magazine and travelled a bit - well, a lot. Just about everywhere I went I took the opportunity to visit cemeteries. It was great and I found some really interesting memorials. I also got to meet and interview some really interesting people but that's another story. People often ask me how I chose the title of this blog. Simple, really. Years ago, I arrived at a cemetery looking for interesting stories and saw a friend already there. On seeing me, he turned to his companion and said: "Look, it's the graveyard detective!" The name stuck!
One piece of advice I give people is to shoot as many photographs as you can. When I used film, I used to say - Film is cheap, don't hold back! Now, in the digital age, with a large capacity memory card you can take hundreds of photos cheaply. And remember to get closes-ups. I remember going to one of the early Kensal Green cemetery open days and kneeling in front of a gravestone to record some detail. I heard a guided tour group approaching behind me and, to my great pleasure, heard the guide say: "Look at that young man taking a close-up. What do I keep telling you? Get closer!" I was especially pleased to hear that as the guide was my great heroine - the wonderful architectural photographer, Lucinda Lambton.
|Just arrived in a Portuguese cemetery and raring to go.|
|Portugal - I have only just noticed the skull at the feet of the figure.|