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Dis Manibus

“And our atoms shall tumble into Oblivion’s Bed
Dreaming sedimentary dreams on an epochal scale”

Our latest photography project has been to record the decaying monuments found in local churchyards. Behind the shiny new markers of the recently deceased lies a twilight world of the forgotten, their final resting places gradually disintegrating. Centuries of erosion have rendered the inscriptions on some unreadable, while others offer tantalising clues to the occupants…generations of past lives reduced to dust. Gradually headstone foundations slip and they start to lean, times steady hand slowly pushing them earthward. Ivy and lichens secure a footing on once beautifully masoned stone. Birdsong and ancient Yews add to an eternal picture of peace, punctuated by shafts of sunlight in which midges dance to the changing seasons - beauty and sadness combined.

Our objective was not simply to record fading memories, but to attempt to amplify their presence. We found that processing the images in monochrome and spending time ‘dodging and burning’ to lift shadows or deepen them, introduced a desirable ethereal finish - one that complemented the subject matter perfectly. The images displayed here are the result of several outings to Derbyshire churchyards and taken with a variety of Leica cameras and lenses.