Whilst writing about Parisian Cemeteries, I came to realise that there was a similarity between the cemetery and old photographs. Roland Barthes, in relation to photographs talks of the catastrophe of death inherent in every one, and how, in photographs time is engorged.
“I observe with horror an anterior future of which death is the stake… I shudder, like Winnicott’s psychotic patient over a catastrophe which has already occurred. Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe.”
“In the photograph, Time’s immobilisation assumes only an excessive, monstrous mode: Time is engorged…”
The same could be said of cemeteries, except in their case, the death in question (the inherent catastrophe) is not those of the already dead, but our own, and Time’s engorgement, is the passage of time within the cemetery’s boundaries, where with all the dates of death, where it has been ‘tripped up’ and where it has stumbled, the passage has been disrupted, much like a cart pulled over rough ground. In a cemetery, time lags behind itself, behind where it should be, and for a moment we are more free of its grasp than at any other time; more alive amongst the dead than ever amongst the living.