Friday, October 28, 2005

Prague cemetary in Autumn

I did in fact roam through Prague's Olsanska Cemetary as planned. The lighting was perfect for this type of photography; I wanted a subtle autumn light filtering through the canopy of trees to illuminate the weathered old stones. There was a magic quality to the light. It's common photographer knowledge that the best light is just after dawn or before sunset. But I've found that autumn tends to extend that period by a few hours--if it's not cloudy--to produce an almost constant 'dusky' light. I've always been a fan of black and white film, especially when photographing the textures of old stone. And Europe certainly has no shortage of old castles and cemetaries to troll rough. But this time I wanted to play with color digital and see what would come of it. Please let me know what you think.

Another great thing about photography is the surprises. You can have a preconceived notion in your head about what you set out to photograph--and return with something else. It could be completely different, sometimes
even better than what you had originally planned. In this case I was seeking to contrast brightly colored autumn leaves with old gray stone. I feel that I accomplished that.

But what struck me most on that day in the cemetary was the sad state of disrepair the place was in. The cemetary is huge and I must have walked around in it for two hours. Elderly people were laying flowers on graves and tending the plots in the newer sections. But as I passed through the centuries
backward, 1900s, 1800s, etc. I noticed the damage and disrepair.
In the oldest part of the cemetary, stones were knocked down and open graves could be seen. Either a bad zombie film became reality or somebody moved the former occupants. Massive ornate tombs lay in ruin. Huge statues were limbless.

It's ironic that the largest and most ornately decorated tombs and plots were the most destroyed. It's as if the wealthy families of the deceased spent a fortune on something no more permanent than the last yellow leaves in autumn's branches.

* I couldn't quite work out the formatting of photos and text on this blog, even after many attempts. Apologies for the skewed layout.


Blogger Rob Harwood said...

The text formatting looks fine in Firefox. I like the photos. They look 'authentic', although that's the wrong word. I mean that it's what my imagination would see if I tried to imagine such images.

You may want to check out for a good way to showcase and organize your photos. It's very popular with professional and amateur photographers.

4:33 PM  

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