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Monday, October 11, 2010

Cemeteries, Cameras, and Lanterns, Oh My!

Cemeteries, cameras and lanterns, oh my!

Just another day in the life of Sherri! October 4th found me "posing" for a photography class as a light fog and mist enveloped the hills around us. Mark Romano's photography class from the New River college needed a spooky prop in the cemetery and I guess that meant I was "it."

One of my favorite "trick" photos that my Grandpa Brake did

I grew up with my family in NE Ohio in a home where we had a darkroom in the basement. My dad was a avid photographer and did it mostly as a hobby, but he did do a record album cover for a local singer in Canton Ohio back in the 1980s. My Grandpa Brake was as a photographer as well and was with the first unit of army photographers to visit Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped. Grandpa Brake had a photo studio in Webster Springs WV and ran it for about 20
 years. Anyway, I'm a sucker for anything dealing with photography, nighttime and cemeteries so of course I said "yes" to Marks query as to whether I would help him out with his photography class.

Cemeteries occasionally make people a bit leery, even during daylight hours. Not me! I remember our parents hauling us around Webster County WV many summers ago. They would stick us all in the back of a pick up truck and we would go visit family cemeteries. Sometimes we would sit on the tailgate or cemetery ground and have lunch, snacks, or a maybe just a bottle of pop. We would walk the cemetery, hear about our ancestors and clean some graves. Pulling back vines, brushing off dirt and walking the hillsides of many cemeteries perhaps added to my adult interest and love of the "Silent Cities of the Dead".

When Mark approached me about posing for his students and helping them learn how to use their cameras at night and on various settings, I thought of two places locally in Summersville that would be good back drops. The Walker Cemetery and the Southern Methodist Episcopal Cemetery by the Moose Club downtown.

This photo was taken by Pam Mace and was shot in the old Methodist cemetery next to the Moose Lodge in downtown Summersville. This cemetery is the one we venture into on our Haunted History Walks of Summersville. Love the lighting!

Another eerie photo shot by Pam Mace. This was up on the hill as you first arrive into the Walker Cemetery in Summersville WV. The sky was perfect early on and shows up well in some of the early evening shots. All that is missing is a full moon!

Pam captured an image of me being reflected on the back of one of the headstones to the left. Do you see it?  This was taken at the Walker Cemetery in Nicholas County WV. I use the candle lanterns featured in the shots on my walking tours of town and my husband Perry make them for us to sell as well. They have a great ambiance at night, don't they?

This is another shot taken at the Methodist Church cemetery in Summersville. There are many variations of markers in this cemetery. Recumbent, table top tombs, new England style, hollow metal markers and victorian symbolism is present on many.

This is the simple headstone for a child who dies in 1860. Lambs represent innocence, the Lamb of God and purity in children. I took this photo this past summer as I strolled through the cemetery researching the stones for my walking tours.

New England style markers usually represent those who moved into the area from the NE area of the United States. In this cemetery in Summersville you can see a few of these all carved from local sandstone. The stones can be compared to human torsos as they have "heads" and "shoulders".

Malvina Kelly's marker as been snapped in half and lies propped up against a tree trunk towards the backside of the cemetery.

The grave of Margaret Dotson taken during the day....
and then one at night....

This was taken by Pam Mace during the photo shoot. Assistant Rick is standing at the head of the grave while I am sitting on the table tomb.

Thank you to Mark Romano of Images by Romano for letting me share in the class expedition!

More haunted blogs to come this week.....