Twenty years ago this month, I went to Europe for the first time. I ended up in Highgate Cemetery by accident, after finding John Gay’s Victorian Valhalla in the bookshop in Victoria Station. The sky was threatening and gray. The wind was chilly and damp. Still, primroses bloomed in the hollows under the trees. Angels stood everywhere, luminous.
In my mind, the excessively feminine winged guardians have more kinship with the fairy godmothers of my childhood than with the stern warriors of the Bible. Something about their serenity, their total devotion, seems too intensely focused to survive the real world. Silhouetted against the white January sky, standing their posts come rain or snow, the angels of Highgate inspired me to photograph as many of their kindred as I could before neglect destroyed them. Since then, I’ve photographed angels in graveyards around the world.
Cemetery of the Week #2: Highgate Cemetery in London, England