Posted by: groundsforsculpture | January 27, 2011

Eye on Photography: Beloved by Maggie McLaughlin

By Maggie McLaughlin, Guest Blogger and Focus on Sculpture Participant

I recently began finding myself drawn to cemeteries.  It started when I saw a dramatic sky at twilight while driving past a cemetery in Chester County, PA.   I turned around, saw that the gate was open, pulled in and immediately noticed birds everywhere and squirrels running around playfully.  The birds were perched all along the tops of the markers and singing away.  It sounded like an orchestra.  After noticing all the adornments that people had placed at their loved ones graves, I stayed for several hours.
My camera travels with me on a regular basis, but I thought it might be disrespectful to begin shooting in a cemetery.  Nonetheless, I gave myself permission to take a few shots as the sunset was igniting the sculpted gravesites and mausoleums.  It then occurred to me that those buried here might very well be glad to know that visitors are enjoying the environs and spending some time at their resting place.
This experience led me to investigate older historic cemeteries.  Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia is truly a landscaped gem filled with gravesites of many historical figures.  Just before dusk, I came across the image pictured here and was struck with emotion.  The adoration this woman had for the person whose face is carved within the open coffin is so demonstrative.  Her shadowed face is silhouetted next to his.  I refer to it as “Beloved.”
Should I ever get the feeling that I’m not wanted strolling around a cemetery, I will leave promptly.  Until then, however, I will continue to visit them and enjoy their tranquil and unique beauty.

 The Focus on Sculpture exhibition is an annual Grounds For Sculpture exhibition of amateur photography.  Selected works are on display in the Education Gallery in the Visitor’s Center from January 22 through March 20, 2011.



  1. Beautiful photography. The time of day was perfect. You captured the shadows and light in a very dramatic way. Awesome.

  2. Congratulations on capturing this photo. The lighting was timed perfectly detailing the artisans vision in this exquisite creation. The textures are so good I can practically feel the smooth surface. You really get around girl, keep it up.

  3. I saw this at the opening and it immediately caught my eye. The light is just perfect and it lends the subject a depth that it would not have otherwise. Well-seen!

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