While I was on maternity leave, I went into the nearby cemetery almost every day. Pushing the stroller over the bumpy roads seemed to calm the boy and at least we got out. I always took my camera and was ever on the lookout for interesting floral tributes. Flower arrangements heavily reliant on Oasis foam and florists’ wire and turned into the shape of a cat or an angel or the inexplicably common (but not very photogenic) floral chair. I had already been taking pictures of these things for some time, but during that period I managed to collect quite a few.
I haven’t been in the cemetery quite so much and when I have been there usually wasn’t a good selection of tributes. Either nothing at all, or nothing very original. I wasn’t sure if it was just my bad luck or if there if these things had gone out of fashion, some kind of cultural victim of the credit crunch perhaps.
But yesterday I nipped into the cemetery and found I was in luck. There was a fabulous floral tribute based on the London Ambulance Service Crest. The occupational floral tributes is perhaps one of my favourite themes, and this one was a particularly fine example – well executed and with the inclusion of fake gems.
Sometimes I think that this a morbid fascination – and I suppose it is. But on the other hand, these are works of a temporary nature and represent one of the really important moments in our lives (for the bereaved and of course for the deceased), and despite being made by professionals they have a kind of folk art feel. And maybe they are folk art if you think about it as a collaborative commissioning process. Anyway, I tell myself I’m capturing and celebrating an aspect of culture that’s little appreciated.
Or, maybe I’m just ghoulish.