I found out last week that I won an Honorable Mention in Digital Graffiti, an art show taking place in the resort town of Alys Beach, FL, on June 6, 2009. Digital Graffiti is a different kind of art show, displaying video art projected on the white walls of the town’s buildings. Even though I already know I won’t be winning any money, I’m really pleased and excited to be part of it. I think it’s going to be a fun and fascinating show, judging by the photos and videos I’ve seen from last year. Hosting the show will be India Hicks, a fashion model, host of the Bravo series Top Design, and author of books on interior design and beauty. She’s also the daughter of famed interior designer David Hicks and the granddaughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten. In addition, VJ Shantell Martin will be performing. The artists themselves hail from a number of U.S. states, as well as Australia, Belgium, France, Mexico, England, and Italy.
The judges were a diverse group of people: Alan Hunter, former MTV VJ; Brett Phares, digital artist and assistant professor of interactive media at Marist College; Terry Slaughter, President of the Slaughter Group, a strategic design and branding firm; Lucia Fishburne, Florida’s State Film Commissioner; Colleen Duffley, a commercial photographer and founder of the creative center Studio b.; Jonathan Salem Baskin, business/marketing expert and journalist; and Andres Duany, co-founder of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, which specializes in architecture and urban planning. (Find out more about Digital Graffiti and Alys Beach.)
My video consists of a selection of my cemetery photography, entitled Grave Concerns. Watch the video and read more about it below. Enjoy!
The images in Grave Concerns are part of an ongoing series of cemetery photographs. I first began photographing in cemeteries in the late 1980s as an occasional hobby. After returning to school to study photography in 2001, much of my personal work focused on cemeteries. Cemeteries reflect the whole realm of human experience in many ways: through their statues, gravestones, architectural elements, objects left for the departed, and landscapes. In all of these things, one can interpret a gamut of human emotions, as well as religious, social, and political ideologies.
These sacred grounds also have their own life cycles. Markers and monuments erode over time, are toppled by storms, and are broken by accident or vandalism. Metalwork rusts and corrodes. The testaments we leave for our loved ones, no matter how grand and glorious, are ultimately just as impermanent as we are. But as these man-made elements decay, they also become host to new life, such as moss, flowers, and other plants.
The slideshow of my images is set to a recording of church bells and birds singing, made outside St. Andrews Church in Dent. I chose it partly because burials are often accompanied by religious rites, and many churches maintain their own cemeteries. Also, the singing birds signify the “life” stage of the natural cycle. The recording comes from Freesound.org, by waterpump, DentStAndrews ChurchBells Binaural.wav.
Extra special thanks to Ryan Anderton for getting my video uploaded to Digital Graffiti’s FTP server, which I had problems with. Ryan is the creator of Memo Backup, an online data backup service. More about Memo Backup in another post, coming soon!
© Karen Joslin, 2009