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5 Frames with the Sigma DP2 Quattro in North Merchiston Cemetery – By Tim Bradshaw


For more than twenty years from 1989 I lived in Edinburgh, and I still have friends there.  Like many cities there are a significant number of Victorian cemeteries, gradually falling into decay in a way that allows rather easy romantic memento mori photographs.

At some point in the late 1990s to 2000s, the council became alarmed by the prospect that unmaintained gravestones could fall on people, and they would be liable.  This is something that happens about as seldom as you might expect: like shark attacks or meteorites falling on people’s heads, it happens so rarely that every time it does happen it is in the news.  But still the council worried.

So they decided to solve the problem: they knocked over gravestones, breaking many of them in the process.

I now forget, but I think there was an outcry and the process was stopped before the destruction was complete.  After that I stopped visiting graveyards for photographic purposes as the desecration was too much to bear.

Well, perhaps twenty years have passed since then and I found myself again in Edinburgh, again with time to spend and a brand new second-hand Sigma DP2 Quattro, which I got mostly as they are rumoured to be film-like, whatever that means, and are certainly cheap.  And the time that has passed is long enough that the destroyed graves have now been colonised by greenery and are, in their turn, romantic.  So I went to North Merchiston cemetery on a rainy day in March to see if I could use the DP2Q to make B/W images which will tide me over until my darkroom is ready to make prints again.

And I think it will: it is indeed fairly possible to get what I think are film-like photographs, and its B/W-preferred raw workflow is pleasant to use, if slow.  Of course, making photographs with a film camera is also an inevitably slow process, so in that way too the DP2Q is film-like.

Here are some pictures I made that day.

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Note: These photographs are quite dark: I think photographs made in graveyards should be quite dark.  There are slightly higher-resolution versions here.

 

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