I published this photo on my Facebook page several weeks back. It’s from a granite angel grave marker I seem to keep rephotographing because that cherubic face and those eyes entombed within the texture of the granite somehow draws me back again and again.
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.”
— Bessie Anderson Stanley
“At-one-ment”, Nikon D700, ISO 200, f/2.8 at 1/1000th sec., 95mm
“Whatever controls us is our lord. The person who seeks power is controlled by power. The person who seeks acceptance is controlled by acceptance. We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our lives.” ― Rebecca Manley Pippert, Out of the Saltshaker and Into the World
“Idol Hope”, Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/8 at 1/125 sec., 78mm Click the image to view larger size.
“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”
—Proverbs 12:10 (NIV)
Someone glued angel wings onto the back of this dog figurine before placing it at the grave of their loved one. I liked the way this particular token of remembrance provides a glimpse of the character of the person at rest here. I couldn’t help but find significance in the dog’s upward gaze toward the heavens. I look that direction a lot, too.
“Best Friend”, Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/2.8 at 1/4000 sec., 28mm Click the image to view larger size and available print options.
“These wounds won’t seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There’s just too much that time cannot erase”
— Evanescence, My Immortal
As you can see, I spent some time at the local cemetery again, pondering and perusing the grave decorations. I came upon a few decorations I wanted to photograph for inclusion in my series A Grave Image, and will share those in my next few posts. There is something oddly cathartic for me in the making of these images; something that makes losing James take on a broader context among so many other monuments and tokens commemorating life, friendship and undying love. I find community and understanding in these visual testimonies placed here by fellow members of the fraternity of grief into which I’ve been involuntarily swept up and irrevocably indoctrinated.
I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out. She seemed to take on a life of her own during post-processing and the final image emerged without any forethought of creative intent on my part. I hope you like it.
“The Third Angel”, Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/2.8 at 1/2500 sec., 28mm Click the image to view larger size and available print options.
Over the 9 years we were in Utah, James and I didn’t spend Christmas or Thanksgiving together. We both felt that it was important to spend the holidays with our parents: it was important to them and we would have plenty of holidays together after the blessing of having our parents around was lost. I always went home for Christmas and he went home for Thanksgiving. Whomever wasn’t going home stayed behind to care for our kids, the cats.
I took this photo in my parent’s back yard when I was in Orlando for Christmas in 2006. I remember sitting in the grass with the Nikon D100 I was learning to use, very aware of a nearby nest of ants. James liked the photo so much, I gave him a framed 18×24 print for our anniversary. It still hangs on the wall, transformed now somehow into a reminder of how fate can mock our plans and best intentions. This morning, I came across the original image file and decided to revisit it and clean it up using my current editing skills and tool set. The end result isn’t as bright as the original — an unintentional but probably subconsciously driven outcome, for the same can now be said of me. One of the things that has always and will always draw me to photography is the ability of an image to make me reflect and feel, much like one does upon hearing an old, significant song.
“Gerbera Daisy, Transformed”, Nikon D100, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/250 sec., 80mm Click the image to view larger size and available print options.