Photographing a cemetery may seem like a morbid thing to do, but in actuality it’s a beautiful thing. Not only are you surrounded by total peace, but it can be a great way to learn a bit about the history of your community and the inhabitants who once lived there. Documenting headstones is beneficial for many reasons:
1) It helps others discover their heritage. By taking pictures of headstones and posting them online to websites such as findagrave.com, it allows for people who are researching their family trees to discover where their ancestors final destination was. This could lead to a records search of the area, and the person could discover where their ancestor lived, what their occupations were and if they were significant to their community while they were alive.
2) It helps keep the memory of those who are forgotten alive. Some families move away, or the people who remembered them have also passed on and the stone becomes forgotten, lost. By photographing these stones, you help continue keeping the memories of these people alive. It allows for a record of their existence to be permanent online.
3) Discovering forgotten, closed or abandoned cemeteries. Drawing attention to neglected cemeteries can encourage others to visit and people may want to preserve them. Historical societies and local volunteers may be keen on preserving the heritage of these older cemeteries. You may be doing a community service!
4) Developing more photography skills. Cemeteries can be tricky to photograph, particularly if it is a sunny day because the sunshine reflects off of the glossy stones. Honing your techniques for photography will help you improve your photography in other areas as well!
5) It can promote self discovery. Being in a place of such serenity and peace, surrounded by nothing but nature will encourage some personal thinking. You may find yourself thinking of those who are buried there, pondering about life after death, wondering about what there is to come in the future. You may have an epiphany and have some motivation to accomplish other things on your bucket list!
Photographing a cemetery is a beautiful thing. Please consider visiting your local cemetery and uploading the photos to these kind of websites. You are not only doing a service to your community, but to the people online who are desperately searching for answers about their relatives and where their life ended.