I recently joined a group called Western New York Photowalkers. It is a group that occasionally gets together and does a walking tour, taking photographs, sharing ideas and techniques. The first opportunity I had to join them was a PhotoWalk of Mt. Hope Cemetery in my hometown of Rochester, NY last month. A Cemetery. Great. Sounds morbid, doesn’t it? But, the wife and kids were out of town and I had free time, and I hadn’t been out to get any shots recently, so I thought, Eh, What the Hell! Why not?
Little did I know, it was pretty cool!! I knew that it was an old cemetery. I remember going there as a child on a school field trip to see the graves of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. I remember looking at it from across Mt. Hope Boulevard when I was a kid when I went to visit my uncle who used to live in an apartment in a house across the street. I remember my father challenging my brothers and I to hold our breath while passing it in the car. He would purposely slow down, even though he didn’t have to. It is huge and there was no way anyone could survive holding their breath while they passed it unless they were driving a Ferrari at 150 MPH. But, I had never looked at it through the lens of a camera. It looked like it was going to be a wash earlier in the day, with gray skies and off and on showers all morning. But, by the late afternoon, the skies cleared and the sun shone brightly, warming the air.
I spent about 2 hours walking the grounds. Of course, I had to stop and seen Sue and Freddy again! I found all sorts of interesting nooks and crannies in the cemetery; little tucked away hidden areas with incredibly old and ornate tombstones. I saw numerous old, worn grave markers and tombstones, raised words nearly worn off by wind and weather, nearly impossible to read. I was particularly struck by a small white headstone, perched on a hill just above the path, leaning over to the left. It looked like in another couple of years, as the hill eroded away, it would tumble down onto the path. It had a name and 2 dates. the dates were only 3 months apart. A three month old child had died in the early 1800’s and this stone was all that remained.
As I traversed the grounds, I found myself drawn to all the Celtic Crosses that dotted the landscape; I have Irish in my heritage and have always been attracted to them. There were tons of huge monuments and statues in various stages of decay. Some were missing limbs, some had fallen over, some were cracked and broken, some even looked as if they had melted. There was a strange beauty to it all. Above are some of the shots I took. I hope you enjoy them.