Alberta’s Prairie Cemeteries

prairie, cemetery, storm, black and white, monochrome, stormy, dramatic, landscape, summer, Alberta, horizontal, Dan Jurak,

I think that at one time or another all of us think about our mortality.

At a young age my father died and I was faced with the loss of a parent.

My views of life and death were in one way or another shaped by his departure.

Having only a mother left and knowing that we were all mortal I lived secretly with the fear that one day she too would leave us and my brothers and sisters would be left alone with no one to care for us.

Both parents have long since passed and recently a brother died after a long and painful battle with cancer.

Having said that, every time that I visit a prairie cemetery, especially when I am alone I stop thinking about photography and find my mind wandering to those whose remains were laid to rest.

The grave markers to me are more than concrete, wood or metal. They represent lives of real people who loved others and were loved. They were once children and some lived long enough to have not just children but grandchildren and great grandchildren. They were married. They fought in wars overseas. They lost loved ones before they departed.

There are so many untold stories in these old prairie cemeteries in Alberta and it isn’t just on the prairies.

When I was a small child one of the places that my parents would take us camping was past Cadomin. A few kilometres south of there were the remains of what was called Mountain Park. Today nothing is left of mountain park but a few pictures at a historic marker. Close by is a small cemetery where I remember wandering with my wife and kids.

It was fascinating to read the grave markers. Many of the adults were born in various parts of Europe in the 1800’s moved to the foothills of Alberta and were laid to rest there, thousands of kilometres from where they were born.

Some of the saddest markers were those of children who lived only a few weeks before dying. More lost dreams for those who came before us. How many forgotten or untold stories do these places hold that will never be told?

I am always reverent and respectful when I come upon these special places because to me they are more than just a photo opportunity. They are a place that represents real dreams and stories from generations ago.

Happy shooting,


~ by Dan Jurak on May 31, 2018.

3 Responses to “Alberta’s Prairie Cemeteries”

  1. That is a striking photo Dan, Love it

  2. Thank you Kelly.

    It is one of the more photogenic cemeteries that I have come across.

  3. Yes, and the clouds …. wow what a great photo opportunity.

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