Gate to Hades

Broken gate of mausoleum creates Gothic cemetery photography

St. Raphael cemetery photography

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On my way home from work one day, I decided to drive River Road between Luling, La., and Plaquemine. Just outside the tiny town of Bayou Goula, a wrought-iron sign declared the presence of St. Raphael Cemetery. I’m sort of a junkie for old burial grounds, so I turned in and walked around.

This vault immediately drew me in. It was one of several that were damaged (a local at the graveyard to tend a family tomb said a storm had knocked down trees, causing the damage), and that gate being leaned against the edifice of the vault really evoked a lot of drama. And I knew the clouds would help pull together a really great Gothic example of cemetery photography.

So I grabbed my camera, locked on my Tokina 12-24mm and set it at the 12 mm, laid down on the ground and shot a few frames. It was when I was processing it, turning the image to black and white, and pumping up the contrast that the title came to me.

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