Skip to main content

resting places

i've mentioned before on the blog that i've always loved cemeteries and that i grew up playing in one, which for a lot of people probably explains some things about me. i love photographing them, but one thing i regret is that i moved away from halifax before the advent of widely available digital photography, which made amateur professionals out of all of us.

halifax actually has a lot of centrally located cemeteries with fascinating histories. many of the victims of the titanic are buried there, including the one whose name james cameron borrowed for leonardo dicaprio's character in some movie. apparently, there were teenaged girls making pilgrimages to the site of his grave, the strains of celine dion still plucking at their heartstrings when the film came out.

there are the usual assortment of local historical characters interred there. a friend of mine from high school snapped a picture of me raising a bottle of keith's while sitting on the grave of alexander keith, but unfortunately, it's been lost to the ages. and i'm sure i was drinking underage. i poured the beer out. or found the bottle empty. i most certainly didn't drink it.

one of my favourite cemeteries in halifax, however, is the tiny one in the middle of downtown [or what used to be the middle of downtown, since the decline of barrington st. has made that area seem like a far-flung suburb from what i can glean] called simply "the old burying ground".

it is well-named, for many of its residents have been there since shortly after the city's founding in 1749. the graves there are noticeably different than in other places, too, bearing the more sombre symbolism of the eighteenth century, like skulls and bones and hourglasses turned on their sides to remind you of your own mortality.

i've been haunted since i was in my early twenties by the image you see here: a combination of the darker images with the mid-eighteenth century shift towards the power of resurrection imagery. the soul rises from the body and gains eternal life beyond the physical, beyond the bones, beyond the power of the hourglass.

when i was younger, i desperately wanted to get that image tattooed on the base of my back. it seemed appropriate, since the base of the spine is often considered the root of the soul. but i put it off and procrastinated and the next thing i knew every woman had a tattoo on the bottom of her back, to the point where most people i know refer to it derisively as the "tramp stamp". i still play around with the idea of doing it, because i still absolutely love the image and it would seem to be an appropriate tribute to my lifelong fascination with burying grounds in general, but any time i even mention the placement, i'm greeted with groans and rolling eyes. given the size and shape of the image, as well as the meaning of having it placed there, it would feel weird getting it anywhere else.

woe is me.

until then, i just keep reminding myself that the next time i visit, i'm taking the big camera, so that i can get all the shots i need of the graveyards of my youth.

the top image is one that i took myself. the bottom one, i'm embarrassed to admit, could come from anywhere, including myself. it's been on my computer forever and i've no idea where it came from. it was in a folder that contained a mix of found images and old images i'd taken from my cell phone.

oh, and in case you were wondering about mental health mondays, i'm giving it a rest for the week. it'll return for august, fresh and new.

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: the war at home

what's worse than being sent off to war when you're barely old enough to order a drink in a bar? making it home only to get poisoned by the government that sent you there. 
although it's certainly not a secret, i don't find that the opiate/ opioid crisis happening in america gets nearly the attention it deserves. at least, what attention it gets just seems to repeat "thousands of people are dying, it's terrible", without ever explaining how things got to the state they are now. there's mention of heroin becoming cheaper, of shameful over-prescriptions and dumping of pills in poorly regulated states/ counties, etc. but too much of the media coverage seems content to say that there's a problem and leave it at that.

one of the things that might be hindering debate is that a very big problem likely has a lot of different causes, which means that it's important to break it down into smaller problems to deal with it. and one of those problems conne…

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

digging for [audio] treasure

my computer tells me that i need to cut down the amount of music stored on my overstuffed hard drive. my ears tell me that that would deprive me of some wonderful listening experiences. 
halifax, nova scotia was not the easiest place to find out about music with limited appeal. it was a very music-centred city, to be sure, but, being smaller, things like noise, industrial, and experimental music struggled to gain a foothold, even as the alternative rock scene exploded in the early nineties. i was lucky enough to have some friends who were happy to share music that they loved, but i knew that there were lots of things that i was missing out on.

with the dawn of the internet, and various types of music sharing, i found myself able to discover bands that i'd heard about, but never managed to track down, from the days of underground cassette culture. and, to my surprise and elation, many of them do very much live up to what i'd imagined from reading descriptions of them in catalo…