What is it about cemeteries that attracts photographers? It seems that every amateur photographer who starts to get serious about the craft ends up in a cemetery at some point in their development. I am no exception; I spent time in a beautiful local cemetery in CT years ago, photographing some of the older carvings & names, the dried up flowers left behind on anniversaries or holidays & the little flags commemorating the grave of a veteran. But it always felt trite to me, there wasn’t much that I created that I had not already seen before. So I did not pursue that subject very far. As my garden photography career grew & I spent time in and around the Boston area people kept telling me about the Mt. Auburn cemetery in Cambridge, billed as America’s fist “garden” cemetery. It’s also one of the older ones, founded in 1831, & was created with the help of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society as a “rural” cemetery, as opposed to the more typical church yard version that was more common at the time.
Well all of the people who suggested I go to Mt. Auburn were right! The place is astoundingly beautiful. It’s got all that mystery & peaceful somberness of most cemeteries, but there is so much more. The landscape is lovely, there are vistas, precious surprises and interesting grave markers, no, make that wonderful grave markers everywhere. The lushness and beauty never stops. It has the arboreal interest of the best arboretums I have visited; tree lovers will go nuts here. Now I understand the attraction of a good cemetery for the photographer. Mt. Auburn is sexy, mystical, sweet and inviting, all at the same time. What more can one ask for in a subject? I’ll be back, for sure.