Recently I came across a thread on social media proclaiming all cemetery shoots were disrespectful and should be prohibited. Being a.) an artist and b.) someone who likes to debate everything, I was surprised by this stance. I’m endlessly fascinated by the stories in these places, the history, and the artistry of the headstones and statues. So, personally, it had never occurred to me that photography in a cemetery would be a bad thing. But, I understand how others might object, and I do have a personal set of guidelines to follow to make sure I am respecting the memory, families, and friends of those who are interred there.
I know when Halloween approaches, the temptation to head to the nearest cemetery for a holiday themed photo shoot is very tempting. This can be a very sensitive subject, and I certainly do not encourage people to seek out the nearest mausoleum for their photo shoot just because its October. But, done with respect, photography in these places can be powerful, compelling, and artistic. Here are my “do’s and don’ts” of photographing cemeteries and other sacred places.