Oakland: forgotten cemetery

Before heading out for my weekly photo hike, I put out a question to my online friends, asking them where I should go… beach, woods, cemetery or backroads. The vote, overwhelmingly, was cemetery.

My friend Kath, suggested the venue first, saying a cemetery would be a good place to photograph, in honor of a short story I’m writing with fellow blogger Lance, he of “My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.”

(If you’re interested in the escapades of our heroines, Pauley and Vivian/Millicent, check out “Pauley” in the header nav bar.)

One of my favorite cemeteries to visit is St. Michael’s in Pensacola. It’s located near downtown and is steeped in regional history. After doing a little Google-recon, I found an old graveyard in Panama City to visit – Oakland Cemetery.

Where St. Michael’s is well-maintained and manicured, Oakland is…. sad. So many of the grave stones were toppled and broken. Ledger stones worn smooth over time. Sand and weeds obscuring any legible names or dates.

Many of the stones marked graves of Civil War soldiers, Union infantrymen from as far away as Michigan. One section of the cemetery, spanning almost the entire width of the park, two burial sites deep, was all children. Perhaps the devastating result of an epidemic.

Where St. Michael’s is garden-like, peaceful and serene. Oakland left me sorrowful and restless. Heartbroken that these graves had seemingly been forgotten.

You can click on any image to see a larger photo, or the series as a slideshow.

(Photos shot with a Nikon D60, using an 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 20mm f/2.8 wide-angle, 50mm f/1.8 prime lens, Nikon CoolPix S205 and/or iPhone4)

For more photos, please visit my Flickr photostream.

Unknown Mami
Submitted to Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My City

Author: Tara R.

I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

20 thoughts

  1. This may sound weird but I have a passion for cemeteries. I love looking at the different ways we honor our dead and I, too, am so sad when they are allowed to decay. Thanks for sharing your beautiful, if lonely, pictures.
    🙂
    Traci

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  2. My wife loves cemeteries and after a few times of questioning her thinking and just joining her I started to find them interesting. Every normal human (maybe abnormal ones too?) feels a connection to graves. We all live and die.

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  3. I love cemeteries too! I am a tapophile and proud to be one.
    Lovely photos…
    Sadly so much is lost to the ravages of time and idiots that vandalize. At least your photos will help them live on, that these lives haven’t been completely forgotten…
    I always try to tidy things up when I’m visiting, upright turned-over stones, dig off the sod that tries to cover other stones, etc…
    And I always say “thank you” when I leave…

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      1. Absolutely…. And when they’re so forgotten I wonder why?? Did the families die out? Were all of the people buried there huge jerks?
        When I visit alone I talk to the stones, try to imagine their stories….
        And I always look for folks that share my birthday!!
        b

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  4. Fabulous photos, Tara. I particularly like the large one at the end. It has such depth and feeling to it. You have a wonderful eye. Thanks for sharing.

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