Last month I blogged about our Heritage Lottery funded project to catalogue and research the headstones in our local cemetery. You can read more about it here. Thanks to all those who commented. Some of you asked for updates and so here is my first.
We’ve been photographing headstones - not as easy as it sounds. Some headstones slant. Some are subsiding. This is precarious work! Some cameras run out of battery half way through a session. Some people [ok, so it was only me!] are so out of condition that squatting down to photograph one stone after the next is more painful than a step-aerobics class.
Overgrown shrubbery posed yet more problems. The cemetery is surrounded by a huge old hedge with trees growing through the hedge and, in some places, hanging over the stones. Cameras had to be repeatedly discarded while we removed ivy from stones, lifted tree branches, pinned back bushes, covering ourselves in mud, leaves and unidentified insects. [Shudder!] But the main problem has been the weather.
I knew that the rain would be an issue so when we arrived at the cemetery on a clear, sunny autumn day we thought how perfect it was… until we started to photograph. The sun cast such heavy shadows across the marble headstones that our automatic cameras couldn’t cope, and when it came to photographing the shiny granite headstones, all we got were shots of the photographer reflected off the granite. So if anyone can forecast when the next dry, dull, not-too-cold day will be, I would be very grateful.
The photography is almost completed. I’ve booked two training sessions at the Records Office and we’ll soon be absorbed in researching some of the more obscure names that we’ve photographed. You can be sure there will be problems. It won’t be as easy as they make it look on the TV programme, ‘Who do you think you are’ but I could be wrong so watch this space. I’ll be blogging about it as the project proceeds, warts and all!
If you're local to Leicester and you'd like to join our group of volunteers then let me know in the comments below or email me at rosalind.kathryn @ gmail.com