A statue of Hermes with clouds in the background. The statue rises from a grave in Atlanta's historic Oakland Cemetery. In Greek theology, Hermes' duties included conducting souls to the afterlife.

Here’s the second photo that I worked on recently from Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. This statue appears to be the Greek god Hermes. Hermes is usually portrayed as a young man and sometimes has a pair of small wings, as this statue does.

He’s also known for wearing a cap called a petasos. Originally worn mainly by farmers and travelers, the petasos featured a wide, floppy brim. Over the centuries, however, the petasos evolved into a metal military helmet with a smaller brim. Depictions of Hermes show him wearing either one. If you look at the statue’s head carefully, he does appear to be wearing a flat cap with a small brim, likely the military petasos.

Aside from that, this Hermes is pretty pared-down. Unlike many depictions of Hermes, this one doesn’t wear winged sandals or wings on his cap. The next most popular accoutrement for Hermes is a caduceus. (A staff with two intertwined snakes and a pair of wings at the top. Used today as a medical symbol, the caduceus originally signified commerce.) Although this Hermes might be holding a caduceus in his left hand, it’s impossible to tell from this angle. It would also be an awkward way to hold one.

While Hermes is associated with many different things, including commerce, his role as messenger of the gods is particularly important. Because he easily moves between the mortal and divine worlds, one of his chief duties as messenger is guiding souls to the underworld, Hades. This makes him the perfect graveside companion.

Want to know more about Hermes? Check out this fun overview.

© 2015 Karen Joslin

Sweet Sorrow: One Photo, Two Versions

Recently, I was playing around with a few photos that I took in Oakland Cemetery, a historic cemetery in Atlanta.
I’ve always liked this statue of a weeping woman holding a laurel wreath. In cemetery symbolism, a laurel wreath may connote several different things. Often, it’s used to mark the grave of a person distinguished in the arts, the military, literature, or athletics. The circular shape of the wreath implies eternity, and thus, victory over death. Remembrance is another common meaning.

Anyway, I had already done the black and white version of this photo, and I like how it turned out. However, I also like the color of the flowers and leaves on the tree in the background, so I decided to amp up the color version. I cropped it a bit because a few things in the bottom left-hand corner were distracting. (They disappeared in the black and white version, since that corner went so dark.)

I can’t decide which one I like better. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

© 2015 Karen Joslin

Easter Bunny-Lion 2

A lion statue decorated like the Easter bunny adds a whimsical touch to Azalea Park in Crawfordville, Florida.
“Easter Bunny-Lion 2”

Here’s a different view of the Easter Bunny-Lion that I photographed in Crawfordville last year. You can really see his bunny teeth in this one. At this angle, he looks a bit angry, or perhaps sad. Maybe he’s tired off fending off children who want his eggs. In any case, I love the oddness of a ridiculously pink lion with bunny ears standing alone in the woods.

UPDATE: For a little history on the lion and some pics of his other disguises, check out this Crawfordville Lion site.

© 2015 Karen Joslin

Easter Bunny-Lion

A lion statue decorated like the Easter bunny adds a whimsical touch to Azalea Park in Crawfordville, Florida.
“Easter Bunny-Lion”

In honor of Easter, this week I bring you one of my favorite bits of local quirkiness. When you’re driving down 319 through Crawfordville (a little town south of Tallahassee), you pass Azalea Park, where this lion statue stands near the road, gazing out at passers-by. Area residents paint the lion for holidays, and I suspect sometimes just for fun.

Last year at this time, the lion was dressed up as the Easter Bunny. I love the character and detail they gave him. The bunny ears and Easter eggs at his feet add a touch of whimsical charm.

UPDATE: For a little history on the lion and some pics of his other disguises, check out this Crawfordville Lion site.

© 2015 Karen Joslin

Flower Fairy

Photograph of a statue of a flower fairy sitting on a stone in the grass of Isle of Rest cemetery in Carrabelle, Florida.
“Flower Fairy”

Although I haven’t come across any leprechauns to photograph, spring is also time for the fae. I found this lovely flower fairy sitting in the grass at Isle of Rest Cemetery in Carrabelle, Florida. Rather than belonging to a particular grave, she sat in the midst of it all – a soothing, serene companion to all the departed.

© 2015 Karen Joslin

Gator Chomps Truck

Photo of a giant gator statue clenching a truck in its jaws while a man in safari gear rappels down from the gator's mouth.
“Gator Chomps Truck “

The last time Doug and I were in Orlando, we were driving through Kissimmee to go hiking when we spotted this wonderful example of Florida kitsch. What’s not to love about a statue of a giant alligator chowing down on a truck while a guy in safari gear escapes by rappelling down from the gator’s mouth?

This statue originally attracted tourists to the now-abandoned zoo in the background. Both Jungleland Zoo and its predecessor, Alligatorland Safari Zoo, closed due to animal welfare issues. Depsite the Gator Motel’s sign, the motel (not pictured) is actually located to the left.

© 2015 Karen Joslin

Desecration #2

"Desecration #2"
“Desecration #2”

Continuing on from yesterday, “Desecration #2” shows the second vandalized statue I photographed at Riverside Cemetery in Asheville. This one strikes me as more obscene than the first, I suppose because it’s a little girl. If they were real people, the monk at least might have a fighting chance. (Yeah, I know – monks don’t fight. And I’m anthropomorphizing statues. So what?)

Symbolically, it’s a destruction of innocence.

© 2015 Karen Joslin