Sunday, August 21, 2011

the photo shoot that went on forever

It was a lovely, sunny Saturday in the spring and i needed a picture of an angel.
To be more specific, i needed a photograph of a statue of an angel and if i ever finish the project i'll tell you why. Suffice it to say that i needed to go on a photo shoot in a cemetery.
There is this great old cemetery on Rt 40 that i pass driving the back way into the city that has always fascinated me, but i've never visited so i set out purposefully with water bottle and camera in hand.
Just to find it closed.
Really, people? Really?
This was not just a random stop by me. I had planned this shoot and by jiminey i was not going to be twarted.
I'd only ever seen the side that faces Rt 40, so i figured i'd drive around to see if there was another entrance.
All i had to do 
was follow the wrought iron fence.
Little did i know that this cemetery is humongous. I made my best guesses about following the perimeter when i hit curves or one way streets,
so sometimes the fence was barely visible in the distance, but when i found this really old patch of fence i knew i had to be getting close.    Voila! Open gate.
The main entrance is on Monastery Rd, across from -you guessed it-
a monastery.  Thing is, i never knew this monastery even existed. It is only 10 miles from where i live and i had no clue. It is no surprise, though, cause Maryland was the only original colony founded by catholics so there are monasteries and seminaries and basilicas and convents a plenty.
I love finding new things in my own backyard.
But no time to dawdle; I was on a mission to explore and find the right angel statue for my project.
I started to drive through slowly
  but was quickly overwhelmed by the vastness of the place; it seemed to go on forever:
and ever 
and ever! 
I just kept winding up more and more hills until i could look at distant sights,
including the monastery at the entrance 
and the city docks.  (click to spot them)
There was a newer section that was totally uncool (can you say uniform and boring?), but the vast majority of the cemetery was old enough to have a lot of character.
Check out this civil was dude -

A statue on a draped pedestal on a crypt on a base with urns.
Wow. Somebody had a healthy self-image.
How about these low mausoleums 
that look like tiny houses?
Or these that are built into the hill?
There was a plot of uniform little crosses.
Turns out they are the nuns. Something about the way they are all lined up together in the green grass makes me smile; like the sisters are still cloistered together.
While shooting angels, i'd stop to admire interesting or different monuments, like this brown cylinder which is both an unusual shape and color.
Or i might stop to wonder at monuments that seemed senseless to me: a sphere on a platter on a column on a base? I feel like i should like it, but i don't. I just don't get it at all (though don't those clouds look great behind it?).
I also don't get this cross  that is shaped like it grew from a tree. Trees don't grow branches like that. Stop it; put that away.
But even when i see monuments that might not appeal to me aesthetically, i still generally enjoy the stillness and the peace that seems to settle over old cemeteries on sunny days.
Not to say that there isn't the occasional completely alarming moment:
  What the...??????
It is a creepy statue of creepy dead kids covered in creepy fake flowers.
And the creepiest part?
These kids died over 100 years ago as children so its not like their kids or grandkids left those flowers. I mean, who put those flowers on them? I don't even know where my great-great-great-great-grand aunt's grave is, much less care enough to take flowers.
After a few minutes to shake off the heebie jeebies i pressed on cause you know,
there was still more to be seen.

Can i tell you how happy it makes me to know that her parents named her Bessie?
Not Elizabeth, Bessie. That was her given name.
And she lived to be 90. I bet she was a kind, old dear who had ribbon candy out in crystal dishes year round and would offer you cookies and lemonade when you'd walk the mail up to the porch for her cause her gout was flaring up. Oh, Bessie. I never knew you yet somehow i miss you.
I thought i'd gotten to the far edge of the cemetery when i hit a bit of woods,
, but look - somehow there is more.
And more 
And even more
 Plus more.
Great googley-moogley - does this place have its own area code?
Honestly, i feel like it is bigger than my neighborhood.
It was so vast that there were big sections that you couldn't get to by car,
so i had to climb.
Doesn't it look like these stairs just lead right up to heaven?
Helllllloooooo, little car -
I finally, finally made it all the way to the section that borders Rt 40, the section that i have seen through the fence for years. I realized that one of the things that has always caught my eye when driving was this lovely bronze statue: 
She's so lovely and though full bronzes are pretty rare because of the cost, i did also see an awesome monument with bronze insets as well:

In searching for angels i did find one other bronze figure as well:
That's big. Really big to be full bronze.
Oh wait, the name on the base is Key. That explains it, then. The Keys were a prominent, wealthy family around these parts.
See this bridge in the distance? 
That would be the Key bridge that completes the Baltimore Beltway.
Mayhaps you've heard of one of the Key cousins from Frederick : Francis Scott?
Anyhoo... it was a lovely day in the cemetery and a very productive shoot.
I am still working my way through all the angel pictures i took, working on... well... its kinda hard to explain the concept, but when its done i'll share.


Brenda*Nery said...

Love your blog posts! !!

Anonymous said...

Great Cemetary! I love to read all the information & see how long people lived and the nice headstones. Most all of them around here are flat against the ground so all they have to do is just put the vase thingy down and they can mow like crazy people without having to go around headstones. practical, yes - interesting? not in the slightest....Sheryl

Niki said...

i really do not like those flat headstone cemeteries - blech