Just a Passing Observation

Black Malkin

Black Malkin

Some of Hamilton’s historians and town wanderer’s have briefly mentioned the Bartonville Cemetery in their writings. I had never been there before, so the first time I roamed through the Bartonville Neighbourhood I went to this burial ground and spent time reading the grave markers of some of the earliest residents of this area with a not so well-known past.

Acknowledging the names, dates and varying ages of the deceased was quite interesting; certainly not as morbid as all of this might seem to some, but I think I was there for about twenty minutes without any artistic inspiration when I decided it was time to move on. Just as I was about to leave, however, a feeling came over me to wait and take one more look over my left shoulder. When I did, there was this little black cat slowly creeping toward me, its bright yellow eyes transfixed on mine, like some apparition materializing into the tangible universe.

I wasn’t struck with dread but excitement. My instinct was to begin shooting as I squatted down, and the lower I got, the faster the cat approached me. My heart was racing. To think of having a once in a lifetime opportunity to photograph some jet-black neighbourhood cat naturally prowling around grave markers was incredible. The only elements missing, to make this occasion even more eerie, was low lying fog, dark and dismal storm clouds overhead and a big black raven perched on a headstone.

The cat was so playful and adorable. It rolled over a few times for me to scratch its belly. It got up to skulk around the graves and then come back to me a number of times while I carefully composed numerous images.

This is the picture that I felt was best for the Bartonville project category. I love the way the cat’s tail is up and waving to one side, as if mimicking the way the headstones now lean to and fro in the old graveyard.

“A strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity.”

– Scottish superstition.

“A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”

– Groucho Marx


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