A Portrait of the Key West Cemetery

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.”

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