Photography News
A tombstone in an English churchyard


An English churchyard
I couldn’t help but notice and photograph this poignant relic on a walk through an English churchyard. The thing is largely demolished; you can see that something was sacred but not what: no doubt the memory of someone long passed, which was sacred to other people who are now also long passed. We seek permanence when life is anything but; reassurance that our impermanence is a façade beyond which real permanence exists. Setting something literally in stone to convey a message to others long after we have gone seems a desperate grab for both immortality and permanent relevance.

Near to this stone is another which speaks more clearly of the real state of impermanence of life in the 1800s: a family tombstone with the names of a dozen or so children who died without reaching adulthood, taken no doubt by the numerous diseases which were incurable in those days, like typhoid, smallpox, cholera. Strange to think that having put all of those behind us, we are now assailed by a new pandemic, which we do not have the knowledge yet to beat. Impermanence persists.

Still, deep, dark thoughts aside, I think it makes a beautiful photograph, and I can't help but think when I take shots of this kind of Joy Division records sleeves. Though, maybe that thought also brings me back to darkness.

Click image to enlarge.