When my father died, I felt too grief stricken to attend his funeral. Three years later, while visiting New Orleans, I spent a day at the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the city’s oldest cemetery and site of Peter Fonda’s and Dennis Hopper’s famous acid-trip scene in Easy Rider. The above-ground cemeteries in New Orleans create discrete cities of the dead within a city of the living, and walking around the necropolis of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, I thought about my father, about the seen and unseen, presence and absence, the nature of memory and of what remains for us to hold onto.
Photographing the finials, which line up like the dead in the tombs yet are strangely alive, I could not for a disorienting second tell the positive from the negative space, the foreground from the background--this disorienting second fascinated me as I felt it most closely approached the elusive quality of a memory.