In 1993, Photographer Jack Leigh took a famous photograph of sculptor Sylvia Shaw Judson‘s 1936 ‘Bird Girl‘ statue in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. The image graced the cover of John Berendt‘s bestseller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. One can get into trouble for reproducing images of the statue and the photograph, so I suggest you look here.

The statue originally stood upon the Trosdal monument in Bonaventure (there are other copies elsewhere), but insane tourists effectively drove the bird girl out of the cemetery and into the Telfair Mansion museum in Savannah.

Leigh’s photograph is very atmospheric in a way that combines the romance of a cemetery with the gothic landscape of coastal Georgia. Post-processing turned his daytime photograph into something ghostly.

Figure 1. Bell monument. Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA. Photo: author.

On a recent visit to Bonaventure I sought to take my own moody Spanish Moss-draped image. I make no claim whatsoever to have achieved in an obiter snaptum what Leigh did in a carefully considered photograph. But I dare say that one can instantly tell that we are in the same gothic landscape, and I think my image of a small Greek monument obscured by a small moss-draped tree captures something of the spirit of Leigh’s image.

Nikon Z 7ii with Nikkor Z 24-200 mm f/4-6.3 lens.

Figure 1. 43 mm, f/10, ISO 400, 1/100 s. Edited and converted to B/W in Luminar AI.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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