I’d like to give a shout out to Bernie Kubiak for freely sharing his photographs with us for Cemetery Month at StoriesFromThePast.com. His talent as a photographer comes from years of practice. A large portion of the photographs submitted by Bernie for cemetery month come from St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany New York. Bernie shares his reason in a short autobiographical passage:
“My mother took it upon herself to maintain the family graves at St. Bonaventure Cemetery and frequently took me with her to help. That, plus the fun of rolling down the big hill where the Stations of the Cross were, kind of started an interest in cemeteries and how people memorialize the deceased. As the opportunity presents itself, I make images of cemeteries, not as documents but my impression of the place. The older cemeteries are visually more interesting, before graveyards took on an industrial quality with similar stones at precise intervals which makes for easier maintenance. Some cemeteries started in the 19th century were designed to be places to visit, with gardens, picnic spots, and walking trails.
I’m largely self-taught as a photographer, taken some workshops, and have benefited greatly from acquaintances sharing skills. I abandoned film over a decade ago, freed myself from the darkroom, and find myself wondering when I’ll have the time or resources to scan all the slides I’ve left behind. I’ve been fortunate enough to exhibit in galleries in Massachusetts and Vermont and do sell prints. But photography remains an avocation. Having retired from too many years working in human services and municipal management, I can spend more time at the craft and maybe even finish up a website. In the interim, one can find a very random sample of my work at: www.flickr.com/photos/berniekubiak/.”
Bernie is attracted to cemeteries for the stories he can tell through images. It turns out that Bernie and I have a lot in common when it comes to cemeteries. Whodathunk?