Polaroid Anomaly at the Cemetery [F]

Last weekend, Waikumete Cemetery held an open day that welcomed people to explore, learn, take part in cemetery related activities, and take guided tours of the 108 hectare property. I was there. With over 130 years of burials (70,000+) — a considerable cultural and heritage significance — a select few of the stories of buried men and women that were told, were eye-openingly interesting, although sometimes tragic and sometimes absurd, they were ultimately brought into Waikumete out of love. (Not 100% sure about the two murders buried upright with unmarked graves however).

2016-02-28 West City Concert Band

West City Concert Band playing throughout the day. Stevie Wonder hit was really good.

2016-02-28 Sue Bridges Iconography of headstones

Sue Bridges’ Iconography of Headstones lecture. Favourite talk of the day.

2016-02-28 15.08.082

That hill in the background is still part of the cemetery. The place is huge I tell you.

2016-02-28 12.25.512

Truly a beautiful cemetery, with plenty of trees and distant horizons.

I took a photo using my Lomography Polaroid camera of a lovely gravestone that had been nudged by an overshadowing oak tree. It was overcast but light enough for me to think that the picture would come out fine, however, as you can see it is quite dark.

Supernatural photo

Something immediately struck as an irregularity as the Polaroid was developing in my fingertips, and that was the light rays protruding from the left hand side of the photo. I understand that if you deliberately mark the back of a Polaroid while it is developing you can create all sorts of strange and interesting patterns that the chemicals sealed in the Polaroid itself will react to and develop, but all I had done was gently hold and shake it. If my fingers had pressed in that spot, which is an amateurish move, the pressure would not have been strong enough to produce this let alone give it that symmetrical texture.

I searched the internet to learn if there was a light leak in my camera that needed fixing, or if someone could explain how this detail happened. The ONLY thing I have come across, so far, is this photo of a similar occurrence and curiosity:

Claw Hand of and from Brittney Richardson

Makes my eyes water: This picture of me as a baby was taken by my mom with a polaroid camera. (Which was then photographed from our family album) No one else was in the room except for my dad who is seen holding me. It was captured in our old house in AL. There is also a feather like thing in the top right hand corner, no idea what that was either.” ~ Brittney Richardson (Palm Springs, CA)

How interesting that photos taken years and countries apart should share identical variables. Peculiar. The majority of Polaroids I have taken that aren’t of close family members, are rubbish, but I consider this one special for sure.

Waikumete Cemetery is a fascinating place. That was an uncommon open day, but well called for, demystifying the morbidity of death and the operations of the cemetery for the public. Learning about the historical relevance of cemeteries and cultural differences in the treatment of lost loved ones makes me respect and love cemeteries that much more.

I plan to revisit the site later in the year to get a clearer picture of the oak and update this post. Until then, how do you feel about cemeteries, and what do you suppose the anomaly was?

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~ by Fionnlagh on March 6, 2016.

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