This week I had a little assignment for a subject that translates to ‘Documentary Photography’, where we had to make a photo essay on whatever theme we’d like. The next weekend my friends decided they’d like to visit Cementerio Central, Bogotá’s main cemetery. A graveyard’s as good as any other kind of yard for a few photos, so that was my theme picked for me.
The cemetery itself is a weird sort of place. It’s both prominent and hidden, plonked right out there on Calle 26, the road that takes you to Universidad Nacional and the airport, yet hidden behind big old walls. Old women sell flowers for 1000 pesos a bunch on the street out the front, a bunch of presidents (ex-presidents, obviously – hawhawhaw) are buried inside and the cathedral-like crypts that house entire families contrast the smaller hole-in-the-wall tombs that ring the place.
I called the photo essay “La Vida Sigue” or “Life Goes On” because, in the midst of a place literally overflowing with reminders of death, life is everywhere. Trees burst through the concrete in slow motion while weeds navigate toward sunlight through the tiniest cracks in old tombs. Pigeons find solace from the persecution of the street. Families drift between the tombs, titters becoming belly laughs as they put more distance between themselves and loved ones who’ve passed on.
You can find the original gallery here.