Moyra Davey’s best photograph: Baudelaire’s grave in Montparnasse cemetery

please note this post is not by Jay Clapp Photography but from the photography news at the guardian for your viewing pleasure please feel free to use the share buttons at the bottom.

‘I became fascinated by the French custom of leaving train tickets on graves. This one is Baudelaire’s’

In 2009, I spent a lot of time in the cemeteries of Paris for a project called My Necropolis, about writers and their graves. This one, in the graveyard at Montparnasse, belongs to the poet Charles Baudelaire. I love cemeteries because they’re like museums but out in nature, and I became fascinated by the French custom of leaving train tickets on graves, especially in Père Lachaise and Montparnasse. It’s a token of passage, a way of saying: “I’ve travelled. I’ve come here to pay my respects.” People sometimes write little notes on the tickets, too.

While I was in Paris, I was asked to contribute to a show in Winnipeg, Canada. So I printed the photographs, folded them in half with the images facing outwards, taped them up, stuck stamps, sender and addressee labels on them, and sent them off. It seemed a very convenient way to participate in a show from afar: no mounting, framing or shipping, and you end up with a really interesting image because, when it is unfolded and displayed, it carries traces of where it came from, as well as who it was addressed to. I like how things on the surface of the photograph – stickers, tape, stamps – speak to the cards on the grave.

When I contribute to an exhibition in this way, I try to first mail the photographs to someone who has a connection to the place where they are ultimately going to be displayed. With the show in Winnipeg, which is where my mother is from, I mailed 75 photographs from Paris to people who either came from Winnipeg, or had married someone from there. Victor Bloom, the addressee here, had been married to a friend of mine from Winnipeg. The photographs were all collected and taken to the gallery.

I shoot what interests me, but I’m also quick to recognise a subject that will lend itself to folding and mailing. When I was at the Central Library in Liverpool recently, I photographed an old 1850s book called Harbours and Docks, as it had fold-out maps. I knew the image I took would mirror the folding process.

I’ve mailed over 1,000 photographs to people and galleries all over the world – to Italy, Brazil, many places. None have ever gone missing. Sometimes a photograph gets delayed for a long time, but eventually everything shows up. I find it astonishing.


Born: Toronto, 1958.

Studied: Photography at Concordia University in Montreal and the University of California in San Diego

Influences: Peter Hujar and David Wojnarowicz

High point: “Publishing books.”

Low point: “Too many!”

Top tip: “Follow your nose, be persistent and, above all, patient.” © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Art and design: Photography | Theresa Malone Thanks for reading Jay

About jayclappphotography

Professional photographer running Feel free to comment and discuss photos

Posted on June 5, 2013, in Photography News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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