Cemetery pictures?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Robert, Sep 18, 2002.

  1. jtk

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  2. Wallendo

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    I've never had any ethical or legal issues with photographing in cemeteries. Most of my cemetery photographs are documentary, not artistic, and generally of genealogical interests, e.g., photographs of the headstones of my great-great-great grandparents. Most of these are taken at small, often rural, graveyards where there are no walls and no full-time security - and no anti-photography regulations. I would not personally take identifiable photographs of grieving family members as I do not believe that their grief is mine to share.

    For the most part, I don't really understand no photography policies. Cemeteries for the most part have monuments to memorialize people, and photography just helps memorialize them further. On the other hand, I do understand that cemeteries with celebrity graves do have issues they need to control.
     
  3. jtk

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    In general, Navajo people avoid burial places and may even avoid objects left by the dead, traditionally going so far as to abandon hogans where someone has died, moving into an adjacent new home.

    The several formal Navajo graveyards I've come across (and photographed ineffectively) are fenced, tiny, humble (plastic flowers), and patriotic (American flags). I also know of informal burial areas in which it's both discourteous to the spirits of the dead and incurs taboo pollution to wander.

    I don't think these folks are as concerned with dead individual ancestors as they are with the overall and complex clan lineage. They're good at story telling.
     
  4. benjiboy

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    At my age I stay as far away from cemeterys as I can .
     
  5. TheFlyingCamera

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    The only cemetery I've ever encountered an issue photographing was at the famous one in Buenos Aires where Evita is buried. And then it was not a question of disrespect or privacy but of revenue for the cemetery. They wanted permits and licenses to photograph inside, because they were famous. I got away with it because I was shooting large format, played up my foreignness and my amateur nature, and instead of responding to the security guards with fear, I offered to let them look at the ground glass. They wandered off with annoyance at my enthusiasm. But doing things in cemeteries other than attending funerals or mourning is a long-standing tradition - many 19th century cemeteries were built with the intention that they should serve as public parks, and people would go to picnic and (respectfully) socialize.
     
  6. Sirius Glass

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    The cemetery in Rochester New York is one of those.
     
  7. fdonadio

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    I’ve been there every single time I went to Buenos Aires. I took more than a hundred pictures at the first time and got no complaints. It’s a really beautiful cemetery.

    In general, I like the peaceful atmosphere of cemeteries. When I take pictures in one, I never point my camera at anyone and do it quietly, avoiding contact with anyone.
     
  8. eddie

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    I like photographing cemeteries.

    cembritt.jpg

    cemcc.jpg
     
  9. Wayne

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    Its not a third party's business to memorialize someone else's dead relatives, and its self-congratulatory to think otherwise. I didn't appreciate finding pictures of their gravestones when I did a google search on my father's name.
     
  10. Arklatexian

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    The only problem that I have heard about photographing in a cemetery is the problem of not being able to photograph YOUR art because everything you are photographing is someone else's art. but then that would be true of photographing any statue, wouldn't it? As for it being ghoulish, I have never heard that mentioned until now. If it bothers you to photograph in any surrounding, just don't do it........Regards!
     
  11. AgX

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    But since centuries cemetaries in most cultures are public places. And in the european culture there are gravestones with dates and texts. Obviously directed at the third party.
     
  12. ced

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    Love taking pics in cemeteries.
    Nobody to bug you, one gets to see & appreciate some great passed on artists' work. I just love some of the old stonemasons' intricate adornments that we need computers to handle today.
    Pragu28_BW.jpg
     
  13. ced

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    Here is a little plaster cast which on a recent visit I noticed has disappeared. The intricate gouging by the rain.

    I think some of you guys have been looking too deep into the sherry bottle.

    Cimit.Rix_7.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
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  15. mgb74

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    I photographed in a cemetery just 2 days ago. I think small cemeteries have a character all their own. I don't find it ghoulish; though I do find it troubling when the gravestone makes it clear that a child was buried there.

    The one I visited yesterday was a small, old (by my standards) cemetery with about 200 markers. Earliest grave I saw had a date of 1798, but there were some markers with all the lettering worn off. According to records, the earliest burial date in this cemetery was 1760. There was one "modern" headstone (1999) which stood out like a sore thumb.

    I agree with AgX that many include texts that are directed at third parties. I don't feel that taking photographs is in any way disrespectful unless exploitative. People used to picnic in cemeteries, both in Europe and the US.
     
  16. Wayne

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    A lot of people feel quite differently, and might differ in their view of what is exploitative. Ever been to find a grave? https://find-a-grave.pissedconsumer.com/i-want-my-father-s-memorial-deleted-20120821340537.html

    I can see both sides here, I think cemetaries can be photogenic and tempting subjects but I think the notion that photographing the grave of someone we didn't know somehow shows respect really shows arrogance.

    A reasonable approach might be to avoid photographing graves of the recently deceased if you plan to show or publish them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  17. That's right. Who's going to holler at you to "Get off my grass"?
     
  18. chriscrawfordphoto

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    I doubt this guy is offended by people photographing his grave. He had an awesome sense of humor. When he learned he was dying, he got two old parking meters and told his family to mount them on his tombstone with the "Expired" flag showing!

    [​IMG]


    On the tombstone it says: "Fear the Lord and tell the people what you want."
     
  19. BrianShaw

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    I’m just the opposite... I wish someone would post a pic of my Dad and brother’s grave on that site. No offense intended, but I don’t see the problem even for the most private of people. A good friend of mine was so private that he requested an unmarked grave. And my Aunt... she’s still on the mantle of the family home. That took care of that!

    But, ya... findagrave is like most other sites where some folks are driven by postcounts. As far as genealogical sites go... that’s a real asset.
     
  20. Helinophoto

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    Here, we always ask the caretakers first, many cemeteries are very beautiful and also good locations for photo-shoots.
    Never take photos of graves so that names and dates are clearly visible.
    Always be considerate about people visiting graves of their relatives or actual burials.
    Act and behave respectfully.

    At least here, if you do that, there is never a problem.
     
  21. AgX

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    What is your stand on street photography then? I excpect you to reject that too.
     
  22. Jim Jones

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    Yes, indeed. The living are far more sensitive to intrusive photography than are the dead.
     
  23. macfred

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    I like to take photographs in a cemetery - never had problems so far
    (though I was seen by cemetery gardeners or visitors many times. Quite the contrary - I often had a nice chat there ).

    14301507768_113e7e91c7_z.jpg 14488027582_79deab9d11_z.jpg 22018129809_bac1d35e7f_z.jpg
     
  24. Wayne

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    I don't reject street photography, but I do think it should be done in a way that is respectful of other people's rights and wishes when possible and practical to do so.
     
  25. Wayne

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    Right you are. Some people seem to think I'm asking them to respect the dead and that's not what I said or meant.
     
  26. Wayne

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    I believe you can request it, though I'm not sure how to go about it.

    It doesn't matter if you understand it, as long as you respect those for whom it is a problem.
     
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