Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18

Thread: Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Brewster, NY
    Posts
    245

    Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

    I'm about to start a large format project on cemetery headstones. The project will compare 18th century engravings carved into the stone with 21st century laser printed images of the deceased.

    While I'm confident that I can make photos of the 18th century headstones without any legal restrictions, I'm wondering about 21st century privacy issues when it comes to photographing a modern headstone that contains a person's likeness embedded in the stone. I'm also wondering if I'm possibly violating a copyright by reproducing a likeness without express written permission from the family of the deceased.

    Any thoughts or legal opinions?

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    17,734

    Re: Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

    I thought all cemeteries ban photography

    However I used to eat bag lunch at https://www.gracelandcemetery.org/ for years and seldom saw anybody alive

    I used a tripod and took pictures, often

    I shot Karl Marx at https://highgatecemetery.org/

    I stop at every cemetery I can and read headstones for the history, find them on backroads

    My Will specifies cremation, no urn, no burial

    Spread me to the wind asap

  3. #3
    Joe O'Hara's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Marlton, NJ
    Posts
    704

    Re: Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

    My guess (and it is only that) is that it depends on the policy of whatever organization--church, etc.--owns the property, as it would with photography on any other private property. As a general rule you can photograph anything that you can see from public property, unless a clear invasion of privacy or specific law against it is involved. The usual I-am-not-a-lawyer disclaimer applies.
    Where are we going?
    And why are we in this handbasket?


    www.josephoharaphotography.com

  4. #4
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    5,477

    Re: Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

    I'd do it and ask for forgiveness if necessary.

    The likenesses carved in stone were probably appropriated from scanning mass-market "professional" portraits like people had done at sears, jcpenney, schools, etc... which are out of business anyways.

    If you stay away from making a business of photographs of headstones, I don't forsee any legal trouble. If you were doing it for profit, it's probably not worth pursuing the releases, etc...

    Most cemeteries are terribly undocumented and I'd think they'd welcome whatever order you can create with a camera.

    I've photographed LF in cemeteries in the daytime, and digital at night. Never a problem.

  5. #5
    Eric Woodbury
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1,535

    Re: Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

    There is an online app where you can lookup headstones. And there is a picture of each.

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    15,960

    Re: Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

    Depends on the specific cemetery. If they're fenced in, there's often a sign on the gate giving the rules, whether the place is accessible to the public or not.
    And if on private property, of course you need permission, although a couple years ago one of my nephews actually argued and won an arcane US Supreme Court case involving access of relatives or descendants to ancestral grave plots on what later became private property; but that species of access, now affirmed nationally, does not apply to the general public.

    I recently transferred my ownership of a little family pioneer cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Oregon, to the next generation. Looters were the problem there. But now it's maintained by the State as a registered historical site, with visitors and photographers officially welcome. Unfortunately, it's not so photogenic anymore - there's a big commercialized pot farming warehouse across the fence these days.

    But I've never even heard of a cemetery that outright banned photography. Sure, if it's one still in active commercial operation, mortuary n' all, I'd ask in advance. But those are rarely photogenic. I'm not a cemetery hunter by any means, but have certainly photographed my share of headstones and graveyard scenery. Never an issue, not even once.

  7. #7
    Foamer
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    2,308

    Re: Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

    I do it often, and even with wet plate. But, I live in a very rural area where things are pretty laid back.


    Kent in SD
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Arlington1.jpg  
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  8. #8
    (Shrek)
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    1,920

    Re: Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

    Human rights, including privacy rights, generally do not outlive the person.

  9. #9
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    17,734

    Re: Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

    Corporations are forever people

    Mickey Mouse wins!

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    15,960

    Re: Is it Legally Permissible to Photograph Modern Headstones in a Cemetery?

    There's no shortage of grave markers. One more generation away, and there will be a few billion more added to the planet.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 11-Sep-2013, 01:14
  2. Legally Blind Photographer Shows Work In 2013
    By Drew Bedo in forum Announcements
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 13-Jul-2013, 06:26
  3. Cemetery Images
    By WmRenick in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 24-Dec-2011, 11:42

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •