Ohlsdorf Cemetery is so big it’s more like a gated city for the dead. Over 1.5 million burials have ceremonially taken place on the sweeping grounds of the Hamburg landmark, and it holds the title of the largest non-military cemetery in the world. Consider this, though: it’s also a tourist attraction. The grand mausoleums and flowering rhododendrons are visual wonderment to those who crave peaceful garden-like beauty, drawing bigger crowds even than just those who find the graves themselves hauntingly fascinating, historical, or perhaps a bittersweet reminder of life’s ephemeral fragility.
And so death, that unwelcome hand of decay, becomes mingled with the freshness of flowers and the beauty of life. Life and death are poles that can’t exist independently of eachother, after all. And the world above is free to roam and marvel at the sleeping world below.
Shot amoungst the Gothic looking surrounds of that wide-reaching graveyard, Julia Kiecksee‘s shoot Garden of Angels taps into both the haunting mood of the place and the sense of time passing that manifests in the crumbling stone and fading inscriptions, as well as the contrasts of living beauty and sleeping death.
Brilliantly styled by Irina Skladkowski in bridal whites and gothic blacks, and stunningly shot by Kiecksee in well-chosen places across the grounds, it’s a shoot worth viewing in full. Click on the gallery above to take it in.