Concession à Perpétuité ( Granted Forever)
Le Pere Lachaise cemetery (LPLC) is located in Paris. It covers 118 acres and is the largest park in Paris and the largest outdoor sculpture garden in France. There are only two ways to permanently get into Le Pere Lachaise cemetery: be born in Paris or die in Paris.
Though I had spent much time in Paris over the past 45 years since meeting my wife in May, 1968, I had never visited Le Pere Lachaise cemetery until January 2001. About the only thing I new about it was that Jim Morrison of the Doors was buried there. My wife’s mother suffered a mild stroke on New Year’s Eve. I visited her at the Tenon Hospital near Place Gambetta the next day. When I left the hospital around noon, I found myself walking, head down, thinking about aging and dying and death.
It was the first of January, New Year’s Day and the streets were practically empty. It was a cold gray overcast day. Everywhere moisture dripped from tree branches and awnings in front of cafes. I looked up and found that I was standing in front of the Porte Gambetta entrance to Le Pere Lachaise cemetery.
This was my introduction to Le Pere Lachaise and the beginning of a photographic exploration involving countless trips and a project that has grown to more than 80 images.
Le Pere Lachaise is a very quiet place. As you move towards the center, the sounds of Paris recede and then completely disappear. It's a great place to have a picnic. Who would know?
These photographs were shot on film until 2007 and digital after that.