Monday, March 12, 2018

Worn and Stained - The Beauty of Old Stone

I've been photographing old gravestones ever since I discovered photography as my art. There's an austere beauty to the work of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century stone carvers which attracted me right from the start. To this point I've been photographing these stones as a means of documenting them, discovering and identifying styles and carvers, but over the weekend I had something of an epiphany - approached at the macro level, the individual elements provide a focus of their own, especially with the patina and wear of the ages. So I went up to Spring Hill Cemetery this morning with my camera set to macro function and set on black & white to capture the beauty of old carved stone - worn, weather-stained, and dotted with lichen. This is beauty carved out of the bones of the earth and painted with time by Mama Gaia, and it made my heart soar to search out and capture these gems!

© 2018 by A. Roy Hilbinger 


  1. These close-up shots are amazing. It's like discovering a new world. I've been a cemetery visitor and a gravestone reader since I was a teenager. I don't go to one often, but the urge is still there.

    My Uncle Al had a cottage in Sagamore, Massachusetts, near the Cape Cod Canal -- that sounds pretty impressive, but it was really just a shack -- and behind it was a cemetery. One tall stone in particular told an entire story about a ship's captain who was lost at sea, and how his wife never gave up hoping he'd return in spite of how many years passed, etc., etc. Quite interesting. One could even say entertaining.

    1. Heh, heh! Most of the "vacation cottages" on the Cape are really just glorified shacks; there's no way you'd want to live in one through a typical Cape Winter!

      There are some very interesting gravestones in Newport's Common Burying Ground, many of which you've seen on this blog. There's even a Declaration of Independence signer buried there - William Ellery. Nobody that important here in Shippensburg, though.

    2. In Oxford, Massachusetts, the town in which I grew up, the most interesting grave behind the Congregational church I attended was a very plain-looking stone which was off in a far corner, away from all the others. It read "Dinah, a faithful slave. Died 1829. Supposed to be over 100 years old."

  2. a true yet puzzling paradox how stone can 'look lived in' ......