The Key West Cemetery has an odd aesthetic that fascinates me. Unlike the peaceful green orderliness of New England’s hallowed grounds, the Key West Cemetery is a flea market jumble of above ground crypts, disheveled burial plots, wacky epitaphs and oddball statuary with a large iguana population that only adds to the slightly ominous appeal of this historic site.
I find the disorder and dignity of the place compelling: sun-bleached forms, weathered patterns and textures, caked and crumbling mud and concrete subjected to years of exposure and decay; the delicate washed-out pastels of plastic flower arrangements left graveside for indeterminate periods of time, that somehow yet continue to honor the memories that clings to them; the abundant tidbits of humor and sentimentality hidden within the nooks and crannies of the 20-acre graveyard.
My goal is to create a nuanced portrait of this other worldly, eccentric, wonderfully human place, not in a conventional documentary format, but through a lens focused on the subtleties of the place that I find appealing and beautiful. Some viewers might feel I focused on flaws or imperfections. But our flaws are the windows into what makes us human and beautiful. The Key West Cemetery is a window into our quirky, flawed humanity. As Leonard Cohen sings, “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.”