symbolism

“Excuse me—there’s an archetype in your fountain”

“The height of cleverness is to be able to conceal it.”
— FranÇois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Aside from noting its beauty, there are all kinds of things I’d like to say about the fountain which stands in front of the Pinewood Estate home at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales. I won’t.

"Phalntain",  Nikon D700, ISO 200, f/2.8 at 1/160th sec., 200mm

“Phalntain”, Nikon D700, ISO 200, f/2.8 at 1/160th sec., 200mm

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Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings throughout Central Florida.

Grave Offerings

As I wander through cemeteries, I am always struck by the variety of offerings to the dead that I encounter. Sometimes they are simple: a flower; a photo; a favorite toy; bottles of soda or alcohol; a statuette… In other cases, they can be quite elaborate. I am most intrigued by those things left behind that imply an element of ritual, and I wonder if they are meant to appease a potentially restless spirit or an angry god/God. For one who believes the spirits of the dead are wandering around in the ether or that God demands appeasement rather than having a character of love, I suppose these gifts serve both a symbolic and a functional or practical purpose. I am intrigued by how they are often indicative of a broader culture or faith while simultaneously revealing the very individualized and personal ways we employ to cope with the death of a loved one.

"Grave Offerings" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/4.0 at 1/25 sec., 85mm

“Grave Offerings” Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/4.0 at 1/25 sec., 85mm
Click here to view a larger size.

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Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, individual, business and pet portrait sittings throughout Central Florida.

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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
Click here for larger view or to purchase a print.

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Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, individual, business and pet portrait sittings throughout Central Florida.

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Flagged as Abstract

Far more powerful than religion, far more powerful than money, or even land or violence, are symbols. Symbols are stories. Symbols are pictures, or items, or ideas that represent something else. Human beings attach such meaning and importance to symbols that they can inspire hope, stand in for gods, or convince someone that he or she is dying. These symbols are everywhere around you.
― Lia Habel, Dearly, Departed

I’ve long been fascinated by symbols. I recently looked down and found myself standing on a flag, though it wasn’t one I recognized. For an instant, I thought perhaps I should step back out of respect, but swiftly brushed that thought away: it was already on the ground and heavily trampled upon.

"Flag" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/1.8 at 1/4000 sec., 85 mm

“Flag” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/1.8 at 1/4000 sec., 85 mm

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I’m on Instagram at @EarlHarrisPhoto, where I am posting photos captured and edited solely on my iPhone. I tend to post quite a few cat photos, so if you’re so inclined… #instagramcats

Georgian Cross

Nikon D300, ISO 400, 1/1500 sec at f/9.5, Nikkor f/1.8 35mm DX lens

If you would like a free copy of the above image suitable for use as a desktop background, please contact me .

Psalm 65:4

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Cemetery of Fish and Game?

Several deer visit the Fish family plot

Mount Olivet Cemetery, in Salt Lake City, Utah is a pretty interesting place. The second largest public burial ground in the city, the tombstones span the years back to 1877. It’s an 88 acre spread of over 90 varieties of trees imported from other areas. Deer love to eat the flowers that adorn the grave sites and squirrels have an awesome playground in the vast canopy of trees. And birds. Lots of birds.

Over 30,000 people have been laid to rest here, representing members of many churches and races. Because of its beauty, the cemetery is popular as a park and it’s typical to find people walking, jogging, sitting, reading, enjoying a sunny day, or wandering around with a camera.

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I offer a variety of unique
sympathy and comfort cards
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