Holocaust Statue, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Surreal photo of statue against brooding sky at Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, FranceCanon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens at 82mm. Exposure Details: 1/250 second @ f13 ISO 100.

The Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France is a very popular tourist destination. Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and Frederic Chopin are just a few famous folk buried there. After spending several hours wandering around the cobbled stone pathways of this fascinating location I found myself in front of this surreal site.

The above statue commemorates the suffering of the Jewish community during the holocaust.

Its quite a confronting structure and a pretty startling discovery after viewing hundreds of traditional crypts and graves. Situated right next to a major pathway the statue is hard to miss.

I sat down and contemplated the significance of the events surrounding the treatment of the Jews by Nazi Germany. Despite all the documentaries I've seen I just can't get my head around such horror.

I wanted to photograph the statue in silhouette. But the blue sky I'd hoped for didn't eventuate. I decided to try and work the figure in more closely with its surroundings.

By using the shapes on either side of the figure it was possible to produce a frame within a frame effect to help direct the viewers eye towards the figure. You'll notice how the line of the figure's left arm is echoed in the adjacent structure.

Storm clouds were gathering in the background, further adding to the apocalyptic nature of the scene. Photographing upwards only seemed to make the figure more imposing. It also seemed to link it more closely with the sky, introducing some more interesting metaphors. 

I very much enjoyed my time exploring and photographing the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. The diverse range of graves and monuments and the serendipitous moments of discovering the resting place of Oscar Wilde and the like makes for a travel experience a little out of the box.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru