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Finding inspiration from Marbella’s final resting place

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There’s something inherently beautiful about a cemetery. It’s not just the peace and quiet, which is of course an inevitable feature of every cemetery or graveyard, but the tangible demonstration of human emotion shown by the care taken by those living for the memories of their beloved dead. This can be seen through the wording of a grave, through the flowers carefully laid alongside it, and through the regular cleaning of the stone with as much care as would be taken for a feature of a living household. There is also something innately civilised about caring for the dead and paying homage to the past, not least because it can make us more appreciative of our life and the lives of others still around us.

While I do like an English graveyard, headstones tilting in all directions and covered in moss and decay, my favourite type of cemetery is a Spanish cemetery, whose tranquil atmosphere is more than embellished by the regular presence of sunshine filtering through the large dark cypress trees which are a regular inhabitant of such places. But I also love how seriously Spanish society takes its dead, and whenever I take a stroll in Marbella’s cemetery in Southern Spain, I am always touched by the number of locals visiting their family graves, with rubber gloves and cleaning products to hand, ensuring that all looks clean and well maintained. It’s a bit like the beginning scene from Pedro Almodovar’s brilliant film, Volver, when a visit to the family grave is both a family tradition and a time to gather and reminisce.

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Of course it will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that my overriding reasons for visiting a Spanish cemetery are artistic ones, and Marbella’s has more than once inspired me to take many a photograph of the scene. For in the sheer volume of marble fronted graves, both within private family mausoleums and piled up on top of one another like bookshelves in neat rows, these graves make for an excellent photographic subject, not least because of the variety and dedications, flowers, family memorabilia and photos. And on top of all of that, the sunshine is always on hand to provide warmth to the photographs and plenty of contrast between light and shade.

So here are the photos I took on my recent stroll around Marbella’s cemetery. Hopefully like me you will see the inherent beauty of the place, which far from being morbid, is a place of tranquillity, devotion and hope.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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28 Comments Post a comment
  1. When I moved to Louisiana, it was a bit of a shock to see the cemeteries. I grew up in west texas, so headstones were the norm. South Korea also has an interesting way of commemorating the dead with small mausoleums in building to save space in graveyards. There’s a cubby hole with an urn and pictures or mementos to put in. There’s currently a trend to turn ashes into beads, as well, not unlike the diamonds being offered here in the states.

    Your pictures are quite lovely, btw. Very thoughtful and somewhat melancholy, but not truly sad. Well done.

    September 2, 2014
    • Thank you! There is definitely a melancholy air but yes, you’re right, not truly sad – more about the richness and wealth of memories, and how special they are to current and future generations who come back to pay homage to them.

      September 3, 2014
  2. I somehow feel warmth in your photos. Not fear or pain.

    September 3, 2014
    • Thank you – it’s precisely how I felt walking around that place. The warmth of human emotion totally shone through. It was less about the sadness.

      September 3, 2014
  3. woow…maybe i need testing place

    September 3, 2014
  4. We have those apartment type cemeteries here in the Philippines as well. Surely a heritage from Spanish colonization

    September 3, 2014
    • Oh really? That surely must be Spanish heritage kicking in – how interesting. Would love to see them!

      September 3, 2014
  5. sheehantiffany #

    You have absolutely great shots here!!! I hope to see more of ‘em :)

    September 3, 2014
    • Thank you! Definitely hope you will come back to see more! :)

      September 3, 2014
  6. Creepy ):

    September 3, 2014
  7. Reblogged this on mizzyxclusive.

    September 3, 2014
  8. Reblogged this on Boomers Not Bloomers and commented:
    This story is beautifully written. Thank you.

    September 3, 2014
  9. Beautiful!
    We visited the above ground crypts in New Orleans. They were super cool.

    September 3, 2014
  10. Reblogged this on mohamed0idris.

    September 3, 2014
  11. Beautiful place. Great photos.

    September 3, 2014
  12. The dead elegant, flamboyant, ready for the
    day, in colors we pray…..just a little something I came
    up with…I enjoyed the pictures, beautiful:)

    September 3, 2014
    • Gosh did my post inspire that? It’s a beautiful little something!

      September 3, 2014
      • Yes, just the simple things can inspire me,
        and thank you:)

        September 3, 2014
  13. Being used to English cemetaries myself, these pictures are stunning. I assumed all cems were old, grey stone and slanting headstones everywhere so this is a sight indeed!

    September 3, 2014
    • Thank you! It’s definitely a very different feel from English cementaries …although I love them both!

      September 3, 2014
  14. Interesting read Thankyou

    September 4, 2014
  15. Reblogged this on mapsworldwide blog.

    September 4, 2014
  16. Your pic’s of the Andalucian cemeteries are really beautiful and I love this beautiful, quiet places, too! They colors are so bright and the places are so shiny ! It’s a very good example how the Spanish people live with their dead beloved friends and family and a very healthy way to do this!
    Thx for this beautiful pic’s!

    September 5, 2014
  17. This is beautifully written, great post

    October 1, 2014

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