These photographs were taken from cemeteries located throughout the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. The attempt is to document the ways death is treated, marked and commemorated. What is disturbing is the lack of respect paid to the dead and the disrespect of the country’s past. In time these monuments will decay and disappear completely.
Over the last ten years thebookmanni has been interested in the themes of time and decay. He has traveled all over Trinidad and Tobago amassing photographs from cemeteries. It has been solitary and grimy work. It has wrought personal views on life and death, but also on traditions and rituals. He has asked aloud many times, what is happening with the preservation of our monuments? I have been fortunate to travel with him to a few places and seen first hand the sort of work involved. It takes a keen eye to not just take images of tombs, but of the personality behind the architecture. He lets us see the love and care of the living, as some family members leave photographs, write the family name in paint, leave plastic flowers, candles and incense.
Our cemeteries are historical documents. We can see areas that once were restricted to families of the highest classes. Areas where the Jews fleeing Nazi Germany are buried, the many orders of priest and nuns, new names of families who have come up in the world in a generation or two side by side with those who have gone down or remained in stasis.
Archives from thebookman website 2004, above, Carenage cemetery