When I photograph a grave, I do not normally change anything at the gravesite. I might remove a stray leaf or prop up a fallen flower vase, but not often. I want to document each grave on its own terms within its own context.
I started photographing cemeteries in New Orleans in 2006. The first child’s grave I came across was Mick’s, a boy who loved Batman. His family had decorated his tomb with new toys, butterflies, and an Easter basket, as if Mick were close by and might want to play.
Grave offerings are acts of communication, stories told by survivors. Theirs is a language of granite angels, photographs of better times, plastic flowers, toy cars, lofty inscriptions, plaster saints — small versions of Heaven, where dolls and skeletons dance in the midst of the invisible.