02:21 PM
Continuing our posts on noted upcoming events, on the East Coast, Sacred Gallery in NYC presents "Immortal Until Death: The Cemetery Landscapes and Portrait Photography of Nathaniel C. Shannon." The show opens this Saturday, Nov. 5th, and runs until Nov. 27th. The opening reception is Saturday from 7-10 PM. More info on Facebook

Like the Idexa Stern and Aurora Meneghello collaboration, Nathaniel has documented the work of a renowned tattooist -- the godfather of neo-tribal tattooing Leo Zuluetta -- and his images are also featured in "Tattoo World" and my first book "Black Tattoo Art." But in this exhibition at Sacred, his photos from cemeteries are the focus of the show. Here's more background on this series:

As a child, each Memorial Day my parents and I would visit the graves of our ancestors at various cemeteries in Michigan. I always enjoyed these trips. They connected us as a family, helped me better understand my family history and provided perspective on who I am today.

Over the years, I became fascinated with cemeteries: the intricate architecture of mausoleums and headstone designs, the landscaping of the grounds and the expression of legacy present with each burial plot. As I grew older, I would frequent the cemeteries of Ypsilanti, MI, where I was raised, and wander aimlessly by myself for hours, enjoying the solitude, studying the tombstones and the names etched into them, creating stories about the dead.

Visiting cemeteries became a peaceful escape from the stresses of the living world, the cemetery gates serving as a portal to history. Naturally, as my addiction to photography grew, I brought my camera through that portal with me.

Because the photography of cemeteries is a very spiritual process for me, I prefer to be alone while I shoot. If the living are nearby, the tombs can't find me. I follow a personal code of ethics in these places, one that I choose not to share with others. The cemetery is not my home, it's the home of the dead. I respect the dead and am drawn to the energy of specific graves. When a grave does not want to be photographed, one way or another, its inhabitant lets me know.

My goal is to portray of these headstones in the same way I do the living: as a vital element of their position in space and time. After all, we are all suspects.

See more of Nathaniel's work on his website and blog. Hope to see you at the exhibit!


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