CARLOS DETRES

Photo Journal

This is where my personal projects are born, as well as behind the scenes perspectives of the photo shoots I've done.

The Haunting Tourist

What is the tourist's role at Saint Louis Cemetery #1?

This is what I'm considering today as I finish up shooting at Saint Louis Cemetery #1. The biggest challenge of shooting at one of the most essential visits of anyone's vacation to New Orleans is this cemetery, which leads to the inevitable, "Shit! They walked into my frame!" At some point, I said, screw it, I'm going to photograph them away. The first time I did this, I returned home, uploaded and scanned through my photographs and found that the tourists who walked into my shot actually gave the scene an eerie feel...as if they were the ones haunting the site.

I've never felt or seen any spirits at the cemetery. Who'd want to linger with such massive crowds? Nope. What has happened, however is, on a few occasions, a tourist would walk past a corner I was shooting from, not expect me and become frightened. I've seen other tourists do it to each other, too. It's an old, crumbly cemetery and beside stories of hauntings it used to be a huge problem for safety. The crime used to be so bad that not even family members of those deceased would visit. Much of the reason why the cemetery looks as it does is because of the lack of upkeep due to the dangers associated with criminals. It's now relatively safe but I digress.

It's not certain whether these shots of tourists will end up in the final collection. I vacillate, considering whether it would be a distraction or enhance the narrative. In the pictures below, you'll see how the scene looks with and without the tourist. Which do you prefer? 

I'm off to prepare for my last shoot day. Thanks for reading.

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