Friday, March 7, 2008

Our Bell

 
I think the creepiest memorials in any cemetery, without fail, are the ones for children. Take for example, 'Our Bell' (which I first mistook for 'Our Bill', given the angle of the sunlight on the eroded relief) in the Lake section of New York's Woodlawn Cemetery.

Her stone stands alone, with no obvious connection to the surrounding plots. There are no dates, no family name, just the carving of an Alice-in-Wonderland figure of a little girl standing under an arch, her right hand resting on the top of her hoop skirt, her features worn away by time and weather. She looks as if she could have stepped out of a Seurat painting; you can almost see the parasol in her left hand, just the other side of the stone.

Really though, I think she looks for whoever left her here.

The Woodlawn Cemetery
Bronx, New York
March 6, 2008



Just to note, there was nothing wrong with my camera when I took these pictures; I was using a second-generation Lensbaby on the Canon 30D.  For more examples from this unusual optic, click on the 'Lensbaby' link below this post.
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10 comments:

Sharon said...

Very nice.

hamilton said...

I agree - that one is a bit creepy.

Gemma Wiseman said...

"I think she looks for whoever left her here." - a beautiful observation! Such innate sadness surrounds the little "Alice" figure simply because there are so many unknown hollows surrounding it! Fascinating photo effects!

Julie said...

I find the memorials to children especially moving, not for any particular personal reason, but just for the life that never was, and my 'appreciation' of the grief of the parents. Often a grief that surmounts words. I have photographs of particular examples. They seem to jump out towards my lens.

I wonder if Woodlawn has data-base details for the plot. I suspect it would destroy the romanticism inherent in the marker, if more were known. Left like this, though, it seems to make the child an isolate, and in need of someone touching the headstone.

Thanks for this post, Neil. And for the info on Sanna's post about shooting in a white-out. Would it be similar do you think, when shooting at a glare-out, like on a beach?

Thanks for continuing on along the Taphophile Tragic pathway with us. I am glad you have posts stored up that you can refer to. Fascinating insights ...

NixBlog said...

What a great effect, it seems particularly suited to the theme.
Very sad to see so many children's babies and infants graves in Victorian and Edwardian plots... Makes us appreciate increased standards of public health and vaccines all the more.

Ann said...

Sad, and unusual that there is no name, no dates.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

How sad there is no name associated with this grave stone. Maybe in their grief, the parents were not thinking straight and thus failed to identify their beloved daughter.

tapirgal said...

Really nice post and images. I always wonder about the stones with only a name.

biebkriebels said...

Yes this must be a sad story, such a young girl.

CaT said...

but a nice stone...
lensbaby... that reminds me... i got one too. and i never, ever used it. maybe i should!