Abney Park in Stoke Newington is one of the ‘magnificent seven’ garden cemeteries of London. The park was originally laid out in the early 1700s, but it officially opened as a garden cemetery in 1840.
Many famous people are buried there, including artists such as singers, actors, and musicians who were very popular in the music halls in Britain throughout the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. And to remember these stars, the Music Hall Guild organises monthly walks to their resting places. The Music Hall Guild is a theatre charity, and one of his aims is also to restore their tombs.
I produced a video that aims to promote the Cemetery as a cultural destination and a place where you can simply enjoy a walk.
As you enter the cemetery you are surrounded by peace and mystery that it almost feels surreal. Attending one of the walks guided by the Music Hall Guild, I felt like travelling into the past and started to imagine what the lives of these stars were like. I thought that Infrared photographs could help to reproduce these feelings. They recreate an atmosphere where the line between reality and fantasy becomes less clear. They can have warm or cold colours.
For this project the intention was to use warm colours, because I wanted the cemetery to look as welcoming as possible. But using too much yellow started to feel a bit hepatic, so I risked and used also light blues and turquoise juxtaposed to their complementary colours.
The challenge was to turn what is generally considered a spooky place into a pleasant place to be.
The weak light of the winter sun wasn't very helpful: shadows are long and look spooky, there are few green leaves that reflect the infrared light, so I had to spend quite o lot of time experimenting with the settings of a RAW photograph to extract some warm colours from the gloomy vegetation.
It wasn't easy to find videos or audio of a good quality, since the first experiments in filmography were conducted in the 1880s. So, I managed to find only a few video and audio files on the internet that are reproduction of the original songs.
If you like some of the images seen in the video you can purchase them from: