Product Details

Guardians of the Soul Statuary
John Bower
Studio Indiana
ISBN or Item #
Date Listed:
2008-06-25 14:28:19
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Guardians of the Soul

Angels and innocents, mourners and saints—Indiana's remarkable cemetery sculpture

Photography by John Bower, Forward by Claude Cookman.

8.5" x 10" trade paperback, 144 pages, 188 images.

see also: After the Harvest: Indiana's historic grain elevators and feed mills

Lingering Spirit: A photographic tribute to Indiana's fading, forlorn, and forgotten places

2nd Stories: What's upstairs, on top, and overhead

Silent Workplace: Stores, shops, businesses, and factories where Hoosiers once earned a living

"Guardians of the Soul is a book about history, beauty, and love - the history of the monuments and the people they honor, the exquisite beauty of the hand - crafted sculpture, but, most of all, this is a book about the enduring love these magnificent statues of marble, granite, limestone, zinc, and bronze represent. The 188 moving photographs were taken in over 200 cemeteries, large and small, scattered all across Southern Indiana - that part of the state lying south of U.S. 40, the old National Road.

The project description and philosophy

"While I've always found cemeteries to be serene and peaceful places, in recent years I've also become increasingly aware of the extraordinary statuary they contain. For the most part, there is a quality, quantity, and variety to this three - dimensional art that's not being duplicated today. Therefore, I decided to share what I discovered, to give others the chance to see, feel, and marvel as I have. Due to natural weathering, acid rain, and vandalism, I felt it was important to capture these statues on film before they are irreparably damaged. So I devoted a year to traveling all across Southern Indiana, with my camera, to record this unique aspect of our culture. The result is a collection of images portraying exquisite examples of stone and cast-metal statuary that could easily fit into our nation's finest museums.

"What I found as I explored hidden burial plots, church graveyards, and Victorian-Era garden-style cemeteries, were scores of angels - ranging from diminutive cupids to awe - inspiring larger - than - life winged beings. Often, for the smallest subjects, I had to lie on my stomach to shoot them. Others, perched atop tall bases, required the use an eight - foot step ladder. But besides these heavenly messengers, I also came across life - like statues of children, soldiers, religious figures, and mourning women. I even saw animals such as dogs, lions, and horses, as well as countless tiny lambs and doves. All these monuments - whether human, saint, or animal - were erected as lasting memorials to celebrate the lives of individuals who were deeply loved, with the hope they would never be forgotten."