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To Move or Not to Move

Question: When photographing a gravestone, is it OK to move an object or objects blocking the inscription or in the way of the "perfect photo?" Hmmm. That's a tough one. While I don't think an all-or-nothing kind of answer is applicable, I often cringe when I hear people speak flippantly of moving objects from gravestones.

Have I ever moved something to read an inscription? Sure. So don't think I'm going "holier than thou" on you. However, I try to remember that more often than not, things were placed on that gravestone with purpose, love, and care.

I do want to point out a pet peeve of mine, though. I shudder to hear of rocks being removed from a gravestone. I do NOT remove rocks from gravestones. Even those little pebbles that are most likely gravel accidentally kicked there by a passerby. Remember this: Rocks often signify a visitor to a particular grave. That rock someone chooses to remove in order to "clean up" the stone and/or photo might've been put there on purpose. I think moving them is incredibly disrespectful.

Sometimes all it takes is a couple of photos or a different angle of your camera shot to get the entire inscription. Not all photos have to be taken "head on." The following is a simplified example, but you can get the idea.

Louise Malone Sadler's tombstone photo #1:

Louise Malone Sadler's tombstone photo #2:

As you can see, between the two photos, the complete transcription can be read:

Louise Malone
June 13, 1925 - Sept 12, 1990

So I can honestly say, No flowers were harmed in the filming of this gravestone. :-)


Anonymous said…
I'm glad I read this post.

I'm about to embark on my first official graveyard expedition and this information is appreciated.

"Guide by the Ancestors"

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So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."

Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!' Thus says the Lord God to these bones: 'Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live...'" (Ezekiel 37:1-5, NKJV)