A5 Final Submission

Removing the figure

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Reflective Commentary

The topic of identity has many facets I decided to look at the last piece of identity we leave behind i.e. our tombstones. I read that the tombstone gives us the last chance to memorialise a loved one who has passed away (Gravestones HQ, 2017) I wanted to make a body of work exploring the different types of headstone in an attempt to see if they gave me any information about the deceased without knowing anything about them. I found that there were so many different types of headstone, some looked very expensive and grand and some looked very poor indeed, consisting only of a wooden cross with no words at all.

Having recently buried both my mother and my father I know how much it costs to have a funeral, these days burial is very expensive and just the plot alone costs a fortune which is why we had Mum and Dad cremated. I started to wonder then how much the headstone said about the individual and how much it really said about the circumstances of the family or those who are left behind since it is they who choose and pay for the headstone in most cases.

It was clear from the headstones that some people had the finance to make a very big splash erecting huge monuments to their lost ones. I cannot help but feel that what is missing from the picture painted by these images is a deeper knowledge of the person laying in the grave, without this we are left drawing conclusions and making assumptions. For instance, the second image featured a sculpture imbedded in the stone, the deceased was a sculptor and we are not told by the headstone if this is his work or just an homage to him. The stone is more opulent than most but by no means the most expensive in the cemetery, a google search shows that he was a relatively famous polish sculptor who was imprisoned by the Nazi’s and came to live in England after the war. This grave spoke out about the artist because of the imbedded sculpt and the words telling me he was a sculptor, so I suppose the grave really did give me an impression of the man.

Image 5 is the tomb of Giulio Salviati the son of Antonio Salviati the master glass worker, the tomb is decorated by enamel mosaics which were the Salviati company’s trademark.

Most of the graves are not as identifiable as these two images 14 is a simple wooden cross dedicated to Sylvia Lily Cumings who died in 2016 aged 78.

On reflection as I find that where I am able to look up the deceased the reality of their lives is quite well displayed by the grave stone set above them, it is not possible to check the identity of every grave photographed, I will not attempt to cloud your imagination by telling you what I think of every image but it seems that I managed to prove my theory identity can be reflected in the grave stone.