Monday, September 23, 2013

The scattering of ashes

I've just been asked to photograph a funeral this  friday.  The scattering of ashes, a celebration of life. I said yes straight away.  The "guest of honour" was a damn fine man who loved a joke and a story and brought up two good, hard working, honest lads and made his wife proud everyday. A tight knit family with grandkids that adored their pop.
When asked if I could record the event I was never going to say no, but I was really happy when the "service" was outlined to me.   He was not a god fearing, church going, man. But a man who held the beach close to his heart so when told it was a beachside affair I was really pleased the family had chosen to avoid the trappings of the sad "funeral home" type service in favour of a community celebration of a life well lived.   The order of service is finalised......and it will be casual and comfortable.  Informal is a good term.   I have my role in the day organised, planned in a single phone call, set in stone.  From the shot list I know what gear I will need and where I need to be at what part of the celebration.  Planning makes it all very easy and, for me, it will be good to keep busy.

I have photographed a few funerals in the past.  Some family, some work related and some just because the haze of grief is often so strong a physical reminder is needed.   I am usually asked to record the event when distance is a factor or aged relatives, too unwell to undertake the journey,  want to be a part of it.  The final images are a way for those people to see the crowd and give them, even in absentia, some closure.    I have also photographed the casket topper flowers to be made into thank you cards. There are printers here in Australia that will do a short quick print run and the card can have specific names and dates on the reverse.   I know a few other photographers who also have been asked to record such events, but I hope it never becomes a commercialised trend.

So if you see me pointing a camera at you on friday arvo don't hide.  Stand and be proud and know that  the family will be glad to see your face.

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