I’ve been interested in cemeteries for a long time. All my life it seems. I’m not into horror or goth or anything creepy, yet my interest in cemeteries has always been there, I guess from TV and movies, and from books, especially vampire stories. I was always disappointed that our local cemetery, while oldish (about 110 years old now) didn’t have any of the old slab-style gravestones with interesting relief sculptures or sayings on them (it was not until much later that I realized that those style of gravestones tended to be much older than my town’s founding).
When I did my first Masters in History one of my major research papers was on cemeteries in Toronto, specifically on the Necropolis and Mount Pleasant cemeteries. The research I did for that paper (and the numerous rolls of film I shot) really opened my eyes to what was out there, and I knew I had to see the big monumental cemeteries of Europe (and other countries). Luckily, when I lived in France I was able to see the big 4 cemeteries of Paris (Pere Lachaise, Montmartre, Montparnasse, and Passy) but I wasn’t really able to see any others in Europe since I was too broke to go anywhere else. I no longer live in Europe, but I do have time (and sometimes money) to travel, and this blog is here as an outlet for my thoughts about the various cemeteries I visit, both as a historian and as a photographer.
I’ve done a lot of research about cemeteries online, and a lot of what’s out there just seems to be repetitious – I’m not sure if many of the authors of the pieces have actually been to the cemeteries that they write about. Of course, this is not about people who blog about cemeteries – there are a lot of them out there, and I enjoy many of their sites! They’re all different, but they all provide a lot of useful and/or interesting information about various sites around the world. However I wanted my site to have a slightly different focus, and as such I’ve decided to write about things both photographic and practical. I love shooting in cemeteries, yet I find there is little information out there about what the light is like, or if tripods can be used there, or what one can reasonably expect there, so I try to provide that kind of information here. As well, I try to provide practical information (which is current when I write it, of course things can change!). It’s hard sometimes to find out where cemeteries are, or what their hours are, or how to get there, and I’ve provided that information for each cemetery from my own experience in going there.
Finally, I will say that I HAVE been to the cemeteries that I write about (unless specifically noted), and all of the photographs on this site are mine (unless otherwise noted) – please don’t post them elsewhere unless you get permission from me first AND you credit me with the photos (and/or information).
May 4, 2017 at 20:34
What an absolutely delightful blog you have created! The organization, information and photographs are all excellent. I wish I had found this blog before my last cemetery safari to Europe in 2016.
In planning my next adventure, can you help me with a few questions?
1- have you tried to get a tripod permit to shoot in any of the Paris cemeteries? If so, how arduous was it dealing with the Parisienne civil service?
2- where/how do you get a tripod permit for Genoa’s Staligno and Vienna’s Central cemeteries?
Thanks in advance for any all help,
May 8, 2017 at 11:12
Thanks for the kind comments! I mostly started the blog as a of reminding myself what I had shot where, and how to get there (something that’s often overlooked), but realized others might find that information useful. I’ve never asked for permission to use a tripod in any of the Parisienne cemeteries, so can’t help you there. As for Staglieno, I believe there is an address or information on the cemetery’s website. I had my letter of permission, but no one ever asked me for it. That said, I try to be as respectful as possible when visiting cemeteries, so I didn’t use my tripod as much as I thought I would.
July 21, 2018 at 15:07
Hey, it was nice to meet you in the facebookgroup “Dark and dreamy cemeteries”. You have a very interesting blog!! So much to look at and read, wow!! Since I’m leaving for Genova tomorrow, I just read the blog about Staglieno, nice blog and funny too!! The part about walking along in a funeral procession 😀 something like that would easily happen to me too hehe… Well, I’ll read some more when I’m back from Italy. Nice work!! Greetz Fafa aka Corpus Diaboli
July 21, 2018 at 15:12
Thanks Fafa! I’ve started following you on Flickr too.
June 9, 2019 at 16:41
Thank you sooo much for your photos of the Ramshorn Cemetery Mortcages. Dad mentions these in his Memoirs and now you have now confirmed his memories with your pictures and wording. Can’t thank you enough! H
June 11, 2019 at 00:00
Wow, that’s great to hear! I love visiting these smaller, somewhat forgotten cemeteries – they often offer some forgotten elements that don’t show up (or are hard to find) in larger, more modern ones.
December 14, 2019 at 16:57
Hi… I tried adding this comment to your map page but got an error- maybe it works here: Hey…. if you make it to my neighborhood (San Francisco Bay Area) check out the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. I noticed it’s not on your list. The grounds were originally designed by the same Landscape Architect Olmsted who designed NYC Central Park. One of the mausoleums was designed by Julia Morgan (best known for Hearst Castle.) This is my favorite cemetery in California!
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December 18, 2019 at 05:34
Thanks Michael – I’ll add it to the list! I did do a big add of cemeteries in every state, but for some reason only half got saved and I didn’t have the heart to do it all again. But I’ll have free time over the holidays so hopefully can do it then.
January 26, 2020 at 03:43
If you’re still living in Japan, I can point you in the direction of a very interesting shrine and cemetery complex near my home, just outside of Nagoya. I have photographs on my Flickr pages – search for my name and Iwasakiontake.
January 26, 2020 at 03:44
I’ll have to check it out the next time I’m there.
June 4, 2020 at 14:44
Hi! Do you have any other platforms to follow? FB? Instagram?
June 18, 2020 at 07:16
At the moment I don’t.
December 27, 2020 at 13:16
Rachelle – beautiful photos – where can I ask you for permission fo draw on with permission and attribution?
December 27, 2020 at 13:25
What do you mean, to draw on with permission?
December 27, 2020 at 14:21
sorry – I mean may I draw it ? use one as a reference photo
December 27, 2020 at 14:22
Which one? What will you do with the drawing? Is it just for you or do you intend to sell it?
December 27, 2020 at 15:03
The flaming Angel – and I hadn’t thought to sell it if I was allowed to draw it. I would draw it for myself. Do you license your photography? I find them all amazing and I could certainly not visit nor take these exquisite shots all over the world. I am a follower of cemetery angels and these monuments of grief, protection, ethereal are a passion of mine. I am a graphite and charcoal artist in the US – I do not seek to take advantage of your work nor discredit it – but acknowledge it only and abide by your wishes. thank you for considering
May 2, 2021 at 03:24
Hi Laura, sorry, it’s been a while (!) since I checked my site. Of course you should feel free to draw the photos for yourself. Thank you for asking.
February 22, 2021 at 10:54
As for the fenced-in area at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where Washington Irving is buried, that is the Irving Family grave plot. It may seem like an area set aside for soldiers, but they are all Irving relatives.