Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Undertaking Photos

These are photos from a project of mine, documenting the daily reality of death in a small Midwestern community. 
Christmas Chapel

Parking cars for a funeral procession

Open cremation Grave
At church


gloriamundi said...

Just caught this, Patrick - thank you. As well as you recording daily circumstances of your work - valuable, for sure - I wish we had more people taking photos at funerals. If a funeral works well, is a good funeral, then why would a family not want a record?

Unknown said...

Hi Patrick,

I only recently ran across your blog, and let me congratulate you on one of the best, if not the best, cemetery blogs I've seen. Well, death blog, not just cemeteries. Regardless, great blog.

I write a blog (http://bloggingadeadhorse-dmt.blogspot.com/), as well, and we seem to share similar philosophies. My blog is an extension of a project I began in 2004 to photograph the cemeteries of Oregon. I'm still doing it; some 650 to date, available on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/deadmantalking/).

My interest is the intersection between the quick and the dead. Especially as it concerns cemeteries. I'm one of those guys who, when they see a pile of plastic flowers, head right over, because that's where the activity is; that's where someone cares. We follow the dictum that we all have two deaths: the corporal death and that when the last person who knew us dies, as well. In between, there's a lot of living and remembering to do.

My favorite cemetery is a wild and wooly one in central Oregon, Camp Polk, that is laced with homemade memorials and the occasional campfire ring and crude, hand-fashioned benches. The place is kept clean (orderly doesn't come into play here) but it's obvious that people come here occasionally to party down. Like in any good cemetery, right?

I forever emphasize the history of cemeteries, how they preceded parks, and how they should bring back their park-like use. I'm currently writing a guide to the local cemetery where my wife and I have plots, Lone Fir, in Portland, OR. It had the good fortune of being listed in National Geographic as one of the ten best cemeteries to visit in the world. We don't do grandiose very well out here, but we're not bad on quirky.

Anyway, come visit. Thanks for doing what you're doing.

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Funeral service faces a crisis of relevance, and I am passionate about keeping the best traditions of service alive while adapting to the changing needs of families. Feel free to contact me with questions, or to share your thoughts on funeral service, ritual, and memorialization. dailyundertaker@gmail.com