My flight to Tampa is running an hour late, but that has given me enough time to finally edit my photos from a recent trip back to the Most Holy Trinity Cemetery in Bushwick, Brooklyn. In case you are not familiar with this cemetery – one of the oldest in NYC – you can read all about it here. In short, it is a cemetery where most of the gravestones were crafted from metal. The affects of New York’s rainy weather plus the toxicity of the surrounding industrial areas in turn created headstones so thick with rust that they appeared to be a new form of rotting matter entirely.
My own story with the Most Holy Trinity Cemetery began on one of my first trips out to Brooklyn. It must have been around 2005 or so when I was headed out to Coney Island (perhaps, though I don’t actually remember what caused me to be on the L train that day.) In case you’re not familiar with the area, the L train’s Wilson stop hovers just above the cemetery, and when I looked down from the window of the train car I saw this cemetery that seemed to be literally melting into the ground. I had to get off the train to investigate. This part of Bushwick has always been a bad part of town, and it was particularly bad back then. Nevertheless, I spent a good three hours photographing the statues I found there.
At the time, I was shooting on film, and while I still have the negatives, I have always wanted to go back and re-photograph the cemetery, this time with my macro lens in hand. My trip this time, sadly, was a huge disappointment. The cemetery has been new and improved with a thick coat of rustoleum paint to prevent further damage. The headstones now look brand spanking new, albeit in a dull, olive color. The change, to me at least, is hideous. Very few of the headstones have escaped this ‘improvement,’ but I made sure to record the few headstones that survive with the beautiful patina intact. You can see the before and after effects below. Judge for yourself, but to me the old ways are the best.
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