My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

The Gothic subculture is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, and looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Tim Burton, Siouxsie Sioux and Anne Rice et al.) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. Goth should not be limited by what is considered "goth", inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Friday, 9 March 2012

Mausoleums, Cemeteries and Sundials

I did not want to spam everyone with too many pictures at once yesterday, so today I am posting some of the pictures of other areas of Inverness, notably the cemetery at the end of Academy Street and pictures from Falcon Square.

A broken urn
These pictures are of a broken urn in the Cemetery at the far end Academy Street. It is not the sort of hollow urn for ashes, just a decorative one from atop a monument. I found something distinctly beautiful yet terribly tragic about this ornament. It is from above a grave marker, has broken and then been put upon the edge of this wall. I love all the textures and colours, the dark green especially, and the yellow-green of the moss. When I go to graveyards and cemeteries, I do not take photographs of actual headstones and markers, as feel it is disrespectful to the memory those interred and their families to use something so important for aesthetic entertainment. Architecture and statuary are not so personal, so I am more comfortable photographing those things. 

Sculptors' Mark on Headstone
This is an exception to my policy of not photographing grave-markers. The actual text on this grave had been obliterated by time and weather, but the sculptor's mark remained. It is also the first time I've actually spotted a sculptor's mark on a headstone. 

Skulls with Bat-Wings, Bones and Ravens
I saw this part of a mausoleum and thought it was fascinating. One difference I have seen between Scottish and English graveyards is that in Scotland there are far more open references to death - I see a lot of skulls, inverted chalices, bones etc. In England I saw more angels and Madonnas, more floral designs and more poetry. I'd never seen a skull design in a graveyard before I moved up here. The graveyard in Academy Street is full of such designs, and it does make the place a bit eerie. 

I do not just take photographs of cemeteries and churches, and there is actually quite a bit of interest in the city, as there are in most British towns and cities (and most mainland European ones too). One of the wonderful things about Scotland is that history surrounds you and virtually everything has a story. Even the modern things are often beautiful, and I see a lot of pubic statues and monuments. 

Sundial at Falcon Square
In Falcon Square, which is the main square outside the Eastgate Shopping Centre (the mall, to Americans) is a statue of a unicorn rearing on a pedestal, birds swooping round it. At the base of the pedestal there are four sun dials, one each face of the pedestal. Here are photographs of parts of two of them. A lot of people, including those who live in the city, forget that these sundials are here, or ignore them. There are people who regularly sit on the pedestal steps and have still not noticed the sundials. Personally, this is very peculiar - there are four metal dishes, quite large, inserted into the side of a very large pedestal; this should be obvious. The bronze has gained a beautiful patina, with hints of green and gold. The sundials are relatively recent, so the casting is still crisp. Personally, I find the sundials one of the more attractive features of the square. It's much nicer to look at than the bus-stops and gaggles of teenagers and shoppers, anyway. 


12 comments:

  1. Cemeteries are such fascinating places! I really enjoyed learning the distinctions between English and Scottish burial grounds. Perhaps those of the Scottish varieties contain skulls and more references to death because Paganism hasn't been quite so obliterated from Celtic culture. One of the reasons I'm fond of Celtic music is its melancholy nature and connection to the supernatural.

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    1. The folk up here are often ardently Christian of one denomination or another, and the context is decidedly one of a Christian nature. There's definitely a strong belief in the supernatural here, such as Cloutie wells and belief in Fae, but the religion is definitely Christian, especially Free Church denomination. That said, there's a strong modern Pagan community up here. I think part of the reason there's so many skulls is the fact that until about a hundred years ago, the Highlands were still very much a wild and dangerous place, lots of mountains and terrible winters. Death must have been a common presence, maybe people were simply more pragmatic rather than delicately avoiding the thought of death. That said, in England there were memento mori in different forms, and I've just remembered one church in England, in a tiny village called Ewelme where there's a memorial with a statue of the woman laying down in her finery, and under it, in a cage of stone tracery, a version of her as a wrapped skeleton, so it is not only a Scotland thing.

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  2. youre good in finding nice motives and angles for photos <3

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    1. Thankyou, I quite enjoy pottering around looking for photographs.

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    1. That's OK :) I hope to put more pictures up in the future, maybe not of Inverness architecture and monuments though, time for some variety.

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  4. I was amazed my first time in a Scottish graveyard as well to actually see tombstones with skulls and skeletons on them -- I'd assumed it was just a way to decorate Halloween props. (I am American, we have generally boring graveyards here.)

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    1. I've seen some lovely photographs of American cemeteries, I didn't realise they were generally quite plain. Mind you, there's some more modern Scottish cemeteries that are plainer.

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  5. BTW, I added your blog to my link list, at my own blog http://emporiumgothica.blogspot.com/

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  6. I'm nominating you for a [Dark] Sunshine Award!

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  7. I just nominated you for the (Dark) Sunshine Award also - I knew there was at least one that I had nominated that already had been lol - but thats cause we like your blog!

    http://myspotinthespectrum.blogspot.com/2012/03/dark-sunshine-award.html

    :)

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