Viejo San Juan Cemetery – Double Exposures

Viejo San Juan Cemetery – Double Exposures

This past weekend I had a photo-session scheduled for 8am in Viejo San Juan. There were several large events scheduled in the San Juan area that morning creating unbelievable traffic, I was already in the city early to scout the location for my portrait session so I missed the traffic, but the couple I was supposed to photograph got stuck in the middle of it. We decided to reschedule the photo session for sunset the following day. If found myself in San Juan with my camera and lenses on a bright sunny morning and decided to take a photo walk.

One of my favorite places to photograph is the Cemeterio Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis. It is a beautiful cemetery nestled at the foot of El Morro with the caribbean sea as its back drop. To get there you go through a tunnel that is covered in graffiti. The whole place is so rich with metaphors, to me I don’t get a creepy sense being down there, things just feel peaceful. Last January I did a really interesting self portrait photography series there using my infrared camera. I love getting to revisit different locations. There are so many ways of photographing the same place. This time I did some experimenting with double exposures using the cemetery statuary as my models.

The Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery is located in Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is a great place to take photographs and has an amazing number of cemetery statues.
The Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery is located in Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is a great place to take photographs and has an amazing number of cemetery statues.
All over San Juan there are these 'garitas' or look out towers. The shape and texture of them is iconic to Viejo San Juan. I can just imagine in the past someone looking out through those tiny windows watching the horizon for sail ships coming in on the trade winds.
All over San Juan there are these ‘garitas’ or look out towers. The shape and texture of them is iconic to Viejo San Juan. I can just imagine in the past someone looking out through those tiny windows watching the horizon for sail ships coming in on the trade winds.
A view of the viejo san juan cemetery from afar.
This view of the cemetery is from the lawn in front of El Morro. There are so many different angles and vantage points to photograph this place from.
To get into the San Juan cemetery you need to first pass through a tunnel. The tunnel is covered in graffiti and always feels a little creepy to go through, even though during the day it is very safe. Going through the tunnel to reach the cemetery always makes me think of
To get into the San Juan cemetery you need to first pass through a tunnel. The tunnel is covered in graffiti and always feels a little creepy to go through, even though during the day it is very safe. Going through the tunnel to reach the cemetery always makes me think of crossing over into the after life.
The cemetery itself is named for the nun, sister Magdalena de Pazzi of Florence Italy who lived from 1566 - 1607. She is most remembered as a somewhat eccentric woman who was given to raptures and profound ecstasies through much of her life. When she first joined the sister hood she became very ill and professed intense revelations while in an altered state on what everyone though would be her death bed. She survived the illness and continued to have visions and reevaluations through out her life that her fellow sisters helped write in a series of five books. Her connection to the spirit world and her fiery personality make her a very fitting namesake for this cemetery on the caribbean sea.
The cemetery itself is named for the nun, sister Magdalena de Pazzi of Florence Italy who lived from 1566 – 1607. She is most remembered as a somewhat eccentric woman who was given to raptures and profound ecstasies through much of her life. When she first joined the sisterhood she became very ill and professed intense revelations while in an altered state on what everyone though would be her death bed. She survived the illness and continued to have visions and revelations through out her life that her fellow sisters transcribed in a series of five books. Her connection to the spirit world and her fiery personality make her a very fitting namesake for this cemetery on the caribbean sea.
The variety of tombstones, cemetery art and statuary in this cemetery is breathtaking. Many common symbols are angels, crosses and figures of Jesus Christ or the Mother Mary looking over the tombs. In addition to these symbols there are also many mourning women and angels. One of the tombs even has statues of the surviving family members mourning around the outside of a casket. Some of the headstones are in better condition than others. The cemetery is maintained to an extent and family members still come to place silk flowers on the graves. A portion of the cemetery is currently under construction.
The variety of tombstones, cemetery art and statuary in this cemetery is breathtaking. Many common symbols are angels, crosses and figures of Jesus Christ or the Mother Mary looking over the tombs. In addition to these symbols there are also many mourning women and angels. One of the tombs even has statues of the surviving family members mourning around the outside of a casket. Some of the headstones are in better condition than others. The cemetery is maintained to an extent and family members still come to place silk flowers on the graves. A portion of the cemetery is currently under construction.
This is my favorite statue in the cemetery. The posture of the woman is so beautiful and the emotion is so sorrowful. This statue was created by a very skilled sculptor and continues to endure the test of time. I have photographed this sculpture several times and look forward to seeing it in a new light every time I visit.
This is my favorite statue in the cemetery. The posture of the woman is so beautiful and the emotion is so sorrowful. This statue was created by a very skilled sculptor and continues to endure the test of time. I have photographed this sculpture several times and look forward to seeing it in a new light every time I visit.
This double exposure is of a tombstone and the view of the coastline from the western part of the cemetery. There is a community in Viejo San Juan called La Perla that you can see from the cemetery.
This double exposure is of a tombstone and the view of the coastline from the western part of the cemetery. There is a community in Viejo San Juan called La Perla that you can see from the cemetery.
One thing I love doing with double exposures is playing with the orientation of the images. The flipped city scape against this woman's face is an interesting perspective.
One thing I love doing with double exposures is playing with the orientation of the images. The flipped city scape against this woman’s face is an interesting perspective.

Rincon_Images_Wedding_Photographer_Blog_Puerto_Rico_Cemetery-10 Rincon_Images_Wedding_Photographer_Blog_Puerto_Rico_Cemetery-11

Advertisements
Long exposures and Creative Self Portraits – Viejo San Juan Roof Tops

Long exposures and Creative Self Portraits – Viejo San Juan Roof Tops

Check out my portfolio 🙂
I spend most of my time by the sea on the west coast of Puerto Rico, soothing ocean waves and calm breezes. Every so often though, I get the chance to play in the big city. Trips to Viejo San Juan always help recharge my creative batteries. Its important especially as a photographer to give yourself a change of scenery from time to time, it helps keep the eye fresh. On this particular trip I stayed at Da House. A cute boutique hotel above the lively Newyorican Cafe.
The rooftop patio of the hotel is cozy and there is a hot tub. I opted against dragging my lighting equipment up the four flights of stairs to the roof and just used my tripod and a little bit of fill from my on camera flash.  I created a few images around the sky light above the stair case. Those tiles at the bottom of the stairs are quintessential Viejo San Juan tiles and the iron work is iconic of Viejo San Juan as well. The last picture is a long exposure of me playing with an LED hula hoop. I love hooping… after photography it really is the other great love of my life.  I like to use a similar technique when I’m doing wedding photography. I do long exposures during the reception to create trails of light around dancing guests.
Photograph lying above a skylight over a stair case. I love the staircases in viejo san juan… they can be troublesome if you have a lot of luggage but I love the character and old world feel they give to the buildings there.
Photograph lying above a skylight over a stair case. I love the staircases in viejo san juan… they can be troublesome if you have a lot of luggage but I love the character and old world feel they give to the buildings there.
Behind me you can see the lights of Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan). My skirt was blowing in the wind and because of the long exposure its blured.
Behind me you can see the lights of Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan). My skirt was blowing in the wind and because of the long exposure its blured.
Led Hula hoops are too much fun for photography! I like to use a similar effect when I'm shooting wedding receptions. The long trails of light add a sense of excitement and mystery to the photographs.
Led Hula hoops are too much fun for photography! I like to use a similar effect when I’m shooting wedding receptions. The long trails of light add a sense of excitement and mystery to the photographs.

Old San Juan Wedding and Portrait Photographer4

Drunk in Love – Sexy Beach Portrait Photography, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Drunk in Love – Sexy Beach Portrait Photography, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Stephanie  came to Rincon, to escape the cold winter in New York. We had some conversations and a few drinks before we decided to hit the sand for a spur of the moment photoshoot. I’d watched Beyonces video ‘Drunk in Love’ and was mesmerized by the black and white images on the beach. I wanted to capture a little bit of that sexy mysterious vibe during my photoshoot with Stephanie. The sun had just gone down on the beach here in Rincon, so I pulled out my Alien Bee strobe to light these portraits. Beach photography can be a lot fun, especially if the subject is willing to get a little wet and sandy and really interact with the environment. Lucky for me I’m a photographer in Rincon, Puerto Rico where the water is always warm and inviting. The camera has magic, it gives us permission to be inspired and truly expressive, in ways we might not ordinarily allow ourselves to be.

Check out some of my other beach portrait photography.

Beach Portrait Photography
Sexy Beach portrait of Stephanie here on the beach in Rincon Puerto Rico.
Stephanie poses for the camera by the edge of the water.
Stephanie poses for the camera by the edge of the water.

Sexy beach portrait photography rincon puerto rico3

Stephanie looks like an angel in this photograph floating in the warm water around Rincon, Puerto Rico.
Stephanie looks like an angel in this photograph floating in the warm water around Rincon, Puerto Rico.