rosary

Symbolic Redundancy (Does Jesus pray the Rosary?)

There is a section in Rose Hill Cemetery that is predominately Latino. The graves in this area are heavily adorned with plants, artificial flowers, candles dedicated to a variety of saints and a multitude of cast plaster statues. Here, a man hard up for a drink can scavenge for very aged bottles of the dearly departed’s favorite beer or tequila that lay sun-bleached amidst the headstones. As you can tell from the photos I’ve posted the last few days, I enjoy the photographic opportunities such grave adornments can provide.

Occasionally, I will come across something that inspires relevant or irrelevant introspection and pondering. Such was the case when I encountered a concrete Jesus holding a rosary. Not being a Catholic, I found myself stuck on the apparent symbolic and theological redundancy of this ornamentation. Some 25 years ago or so, I read and was completely fascinated by Umberto Eco’s sometimes unnerving observations in “Travels in Hyperreality”. I surmised the author would have had much to say regarding this present example of our ability to artificially augment artificial augmentations replicating or defining reality.

"Symbolic Redundancy" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.3 at 1/30 sec., 93mm

“Symbolic Redundancy” [Click the image for an enlarged view.] Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.3 at 1/30 sec., 93mm
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Resting in the Garden

There is a grave in Rose Hill Cemetery that has become a lush garden of tropical plants. Catholic idols and instruments attend this woman, this mother, who was so obviously cherished by family and friends. As I was roaming through the cemetery in the last few minutes of daylight, my eye was caught by this grave and the way the combination of light and shadow drew the eye directly to the angel statue, holding a rosary and watching over this loved one. I was struck by the variety of ways we express our grief and our love for those who have died, and liked how grief for this much-loved mother has grown into a garden.

"Resting in the Garden" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/9.0 at 1/13 sec., 85 mm

“Resting in the Garden” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/9.0 at 1/13 sec., 85 mm

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