The photographic lure of cemeteries is universal. A place to reflect on passing time, the rituals of death and the messages of hope and longing left by those who remain.


Cimetière du Montparnasse


This cemetery lies in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris; the city's 14th arrondissement. From 1786 onwards health concerns prevented further burials or the development of new cemeteries in the centre of Paris. During the early 1800's new cemeteries were located in the north, east and south precincts. Three farms were used to establish the South Cemetery in Montparnasse in 1824. Although the Père Lachaise Cemetery is more famous Montparnasse Cemetery is the resting place of many of France's intellectual and artistic elite.


Photographically I have sought to portray the various ways in which religious iconography and architecture have been used to preserve and portray both the memory and status of the deceased, alongside the modern additions and tokens. At the same time I could not resist the modern irony of a recycling bin sitting prominently alongside the graves. The choice of sepia toning is intended to contribute to that sense of times past, whilst other images have retained colour to display the evident richness or it has been suppressed to add to the melancholic mood of the image.


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© Philip Joyce