Most Recent Geo Location Project
Old Saint Mary's Church, Philadelphia, PA.
Cemetery Photography From Around the World on Flickr
The above is a Panoramio widget of my shots of St. Peter’s Church on Pine St. in Philadelphia. Click a small picture to view it in the large window. Click the large window to get a new one showing the picture, a bunch of useful information, and most importantly, a map that shows the location of where the camera was when it took the picture.
At a time when people are using advances in communication technology to topple repressive governments, create global economies, invent new modes of artistic expression, and change the very nature of what it means to be human, here I am taking pictures of graves. But honestly, people have always used technology for those things. And I don’t expect to break any molds here.
I don’t consider myself special or interesting. I don’t take anything seriously enough to consider myself an expert. I am good with a certain handful of skills, and hope to become better at some number of others. When I was young I used to dream of amusement parks and mini golf courses. Except all the rides were exceptionally small. And all the windmills and mini Mt. Rushmore were suspicious with their iron doors. It was a very long time before I had any idea at all of what I was dreaming.
My very first cemetery pictures were taken in 2006 back home in Chicago at Graceland Cemetery and I have no idea what took me so long. I also have no idea why I didn’t shoot a million shots the first year. My first locations here in Philadelphia were the two churchyards near Center City on Pine Street. These pictures are lost.
Work really started on this project in 2008 with a reshoot of the Pine Street churchyards. These are the pictures used in the last few posts. There was a vague idea of the direction the project would take about two months ago. When I wrote the “Projects” section last month there was an outline to where I am today. Tonight, less than 10 hours before this post goes up, I am still trying to figure out code and writing this as quickly as I can. There is still a large amount of work to do. So if it’s all a little rough around the edges, please excuse the dust. Some of this process has been non-linear.
A huge part of the point here is that I mean for this project to be open sourced. With a Panoramio account, a little free time, an interest in the material, and the willingness to include a few tags with your photos you too can join in on the fun. It’s not possible for me to go everywhere, but it is possible for us to be everywhere. If this is what you see when you close your eyes, you have a home here. If this is how you want to frame your perception, if this is how you would like to shape your world, you have a place here. If you think that photography is still the best way to capture a sliver of your life and turn it into a golden frozen moment that can bounce back and forth in time, and that the internet is the perfect place for that, great. And if you want to talk about what perpetual care entails in this changing world, the persistence of the internet, and what the next avenues for human spirituality are while we continue to integrate technology into our lives, well at that point I think you might have a screw loose ;)
Lastly a few quick notes. Goodness bless those in the historical preservation community, without whom many of these sites would already be gone, and so many more would be disappearing every day. It’s great for you to persuade the everyman to pitch in with conservation through increased appreciation for the storehouse of knowledge these places represent. Please, remember to knock their damn eyeballs out of their sockets too, o.k.?
To all those who take much better pictures than I do, please find someone who spends more time straightening stones than we do, and offer your services to their cause. We would all be better off for it.
If you have managed a well integrated project that combines hard science, hard work, and drop dead gorgeous pictures, I’d love to see it. This here? This is as good as I got.
Over the next week I will be shuffling about here trying out places for the widgets I have up and running and trying to get even more. I will also be putting together a list of tags for photos in the project so that anyone can join in. All the while planning for future shoots as quickly as I possibly can, ‘cause that’s where the fun is. Come along if you like. Or don’t. I personally will continue to start off small and close, work my way out, then work my way back in. Change over time is a powerful thing. Expect some future posts to outline the continued trajectory of the project over the course of the afternoon. The full set of my pictures up to this point and into the future is available at http://www.panoramio.com/user/6451050
Thank you all for your attention. Thank you to my most lovely wife, light of my life, Olivia.
Not a writer, nor a photographer. And certainly not a historian.
below is a Panoramio slideshow of my shots of Old Pine church on Pine St. in Philadelphia. Click a picture to see a geolocation. Use pause to, well, um, pause.