Monuments. That is basically what a tombstone or tomb-marker is, whether it’s a simple slab with a name on it or an obelisk, it’s a monument to the person interred, a reminder to the living of a person now dead.
These markers fade with time, and people forget, generations pass and the dead are lost to the living. Some are forgotten entirely, some are just names on a family tree. Do we all want to fade from memory like dawn fades to day, once there, once unique, never to be seen again, never to be remembered and referred to?
Most of us will do just that, but the few who are exceptional will live on as legends and icons of History. Whether we are remembered as tyrants or dictators, philanthropists or inventors, pioneers or adventurers, famous artists or infamous criminals depends on the decisions we make daily.
At times like this, when my thoughts stray to these realms, I remember two phrases from my early High School days. I attended St. Stanislaus College, it was a Catholic School before the government took everything over under early PNC rule in Guyana. Some things had remained as part of the teaching and tradition of the school.
The two phrases I remember were from different sources.
One was given to us as four letters to be written at the top of every page, I believe it was handed down from the Jesuits who taught at the school when it was a Catholic School; the letters were AMDG, a shortened form for Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, which meant “For the Greater Glory of God”, it was meant to encourage you to try to make everything you do, everything you say be geared towards that goal.
The second phrase was the school’s motto, Aeterna non Caduca, literally translated to “eternal non perishable”, but we were told that the motto translated to “Not for this Life, but for Eternity”. Whatever we do should not be just to have an effect now, in our lifetime, but for eternity.
Taken together they can be a driving force for a truly spectacular life, a life of meaning, unfortunately, not many would adhere to such a strict code.
Many people who happen to drop in to read my blog-posts are fellow aspiring photographers (in one way or another), we may never be an Ansel Adams or a Nick Brandt, a Frank Horvat or Mario Testino, an Irving Penn or a Steve McCurry, a Joe Rosenthal or a Don McCullin, an Henri Cartier Bresson or a Vivian Maier, but what we can do is aspire to show to anyone who will look, how we see the world through our eyes, our view-finders, our lenses, make them feel what we feel through visual stimulation (and if necessary a few words)
Can I do that? Can we do that? I don’t know, but I am sure going to give it a try!
This was taken during a photo-walk arranged by the Guyana Photographers Facebook group, lots of people thought it strange to arrange a walk in a cemetery :-)
Click on the photo to see it larger in the Gallery.