2011 Deck – Week 46

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!

Monument
Monument

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.

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Aunt Yvette

Aunt Yvette. Died - July 13, 2010

Everyone leaves a mark in this world, everyone, without exception.  They may be remembered by one or my many, for good or for bad, but they are remembered.  At least, that is what I like to believe, in time we will be eventually forgotten, but just for a moment, we leave a mark upon the lives of others, these are the moments that matter.

Aunt Yvette always referred to me as Comrade Hinds, no doubt referring to someone else she remembered working in this building.  Many may have called her a beggar, but she always asked very nicely if we could “support local”.  And there were many a time when after giving her what we had, she would return at a later time with gifts for us; a comb, perfume, hand-sanitizer, a myriad of things.  While I may not be able to cherish any of her gifts, I cherish the memories.

She sat on the pavements or on our door-stoop, when she walked it was in an almost completely doubled-over posture, apparently a combination of age and health issues, although I had heard rumour of an accident that left her so.  She is reputed to have been a school teacher in her younger days, she certainly had an artistic flair, evidenced in her drawing, she sewed her own clothes and even did some crochet.  She was an avid reader, many times collecting old magazines from us, and she loved to do Word-Find puzzles.  She also carried on lengthy and complicated conversations with person (or persons) whom only she could see, always an entertaining event.

This was the only photograph I remember taking of her, I am sorry I never took more.

She was apparently in the compound of the Sol Service Station on Regent Street yesterday when she was struck by a vehicle and died, another victim of reckless driving.  Maybe the driver did not see her in her bent over position, but then it could have been a child he hit if that is his excuse.  I don’t know how many people’s lives she has touched through the years, but she touched mine and she will be remembered.

Rest in Peace Yvette.

Before Our God

Philomena CorreiaI have come to realize that the photographs I take are an expression of my life and the events, people, places and things that affect and have an effect on me.  Few things can effect changes in a person as drastically as the death of someone close.  In times like this I realize that while I like taking photographs I can never seem to to capture the emotions of a scene as many of the professionals can.  I can’t explain it, but I “had” to take photographs at my Grandmother’s funeral, it wasn’t something I wanted to do, or even preferred to do, I rationalized it as a job that would help keep me occupied, but it was more than that.

To my Grandmother, may she rest in peace.