20 October 2009

The dead are my living.

I write about and take photographs in cemeteries which is still considered a bit odd here in the UK! It began when as a small child I visited deceased family members at the local cemetery with my parents. It was the thing we did one Sunday each month - taking flowers and tidying the graves. Whilst the adults chatted I would wander off and look in amazement at all the angels, doves and crosses. I had always been struck by their beauty and as I got older I began photographing them purely for my own enjoyment. I started showing the photos to other people who said I should do a book but with a then full time job there was never enough time to take more photos and get something together properly.

When I left that job I began writing and doing photography full time and the Silent Cities series was born. Far from my initial fears of people going “Eww cemeteries” or how weird, creepy or depressing the photos were, they were actually saying they were fascinating. I’m now on to volume six in the series. Why the name Silent Cities? It came about when I visited the huge Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris for the first time in September 2006. In total amazement I stood at the highest point overlooking thousands of monuments and said to my husband it looks like a city - a silent city. The name just stuck.

I use the name for the books, calendars and prints which I sell through my website and at various cemetery open days and art events. People tell me I show the beautiful side of cemeteries and help to make death a little less scary, which in my opinion can only be a good thing. I’m also now involved with the restoration and preservation of monuments which may otherwise be lost to reclamation or the elements. I sometimes carry out research about some of the people buried beneath them. I like to think I am helping to bring their stories to life as it were through my photos and work so that future generations may enjoy an important past of our history and heritage.

My website: www.homestead.com/askjeane

The silent cities books are also available from: http://stores.lulu.com/jeanetrendhill


  1. Amazing photos and I can't wait to view your site.Europe is like a Holy Grail to American Cemetery aficionados.

  2. Thank you. I have visited US cemeteries in New York and Westwood Memorial (Marilyn Monroe) whilst in California a few years ago. I loved them because they are so different to Europe but then I guess it’s pretty rare I find a cemetery that I don’t like!

  3. Welcome to Cemetery Explorers! I have seen may of your photo's through facebook and they are all gorgeous. I cannot wait to see what you have in store for us here!

  4. I have to admit that I am a bit jealous. I would love to be able to see cemeteries in Europe. I'm looking forward to what you have to share.


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