Dave Higgins Photography

Looking at life through nano-coated lenses

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From early childhood I remember numerous family visits to old New England cemeteries. During these visits we would seek out interesting old gravestones, trying to gain from the names, epitaphs and dates of birth and death a sense of the lives and times commemorated.

I still visit cemeteries, but now I seek out interesting modern gravestones and cemetery folk art. What do these artifacts tell us about the people remembered? And what insights into life today do they bequeath to those who will come after us?

The title of this project derives from part of a popular epitaph on old (and some new) gravestones:

“Stranger pause, as you pass by. As you are now so once was I.
As I am now so you must be. Prepare yourself to follow me.”

Over the past few years I’ve posted several galleries for this project. This is a collection of some of my favorites.

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

 

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2019; all rights reserved.

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On July 12th outraged people around the country voiced their objections to the current administration’s inhumane immigration policies and the deplorable conditions migrants are currently being held at in Federal facilities around the country. One such protest took place that evening in Albany, NY.

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

A Footnote: Speaking as an American who grew up in Latin America, I find a bitter irony in the current situation. Over the years the US government has regularly meddled in the affairs of the Central American countries that are now so problematic. In many ways the current conditions in those countries are rooted in that US interference.

And yet now many Americans want to act like they bear no responsibility for those outcomes. They apparently don’t share Colin Powell’s invocation of the “Pottery Barn rule” – “you break it, you own it.”

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2019; all rights reserved.

 

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Last Saturday I had another chance to meet some of the residents of Albany Rural Cemetery. I once again took a tour of a part of the cemetery during which cast members at various grave markers told us about their lives and how they wound up where they are. The event was put on by The Historical Society of the Town of Colonie. It was a fascinating experience that offered a tangible dimension that would have been missing from a simple tour with a dry presentation about who was buried where.

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John G. Myers

John G. Myers: Owner of Myers Department Store on North Pearl Street, which was one of the most prosperous and iconic department stores in downtown Albany. Tragically the building collapsed 4 years after Myers died, killing 13 people. Portrayed by Peter Crouse.

George Dawson

George Dawson: Editor of the Albany “Evening Journal” in 1846, he assumed control of the paper as senior editor and proprietor until 1877. Was close personal friend of Thurlow Weed and William Seward: he named his son George Seward Dawson. Portrayed by Bill Douglas.

John Swinburne

John Swinburne: Graduated from Albany Medical College and became one of Albany’s most prestigious and successful doctors and surgeons. Served as surgeon behind the front lines during the Civil War. Became Mayor of Albany and U.S. congressman. Swineburne Park is named for Dr. Swineburne. Portrayed by Lou Nunez.

Erastus Dow Palmer

Erastus Dow Palmer: Renowned Albany sculptor. The most visited monument in the Cemetery is Palmer’s Angel at the Sepulchere, 1868. Also sculpted a bronze statue of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston located in Statuary Hall, Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. Portrayed by Brian Dollard.

James Wilson

James Wilson: Merchant, became partner in the firm Hartness & Company, manufacturer of soaps and candies at the corner of Chapel and Canal Streets in Sheridan’s Hollow. Served as Director of the Mutual Insurance Company and the Albany Plank Road Company. Portrayed by Sean Owens.

Gen. Philip Schuyler (Margarita Schuyler, his daughter)

Gen. Philip Schuyler (Margarita Schuyler): Captain of British Forces in 1755 during French & Indian War. Was NYS Assemblyman, then elected to Continental Congress in 1775. Served as Major General during Revolutionary War. Represented NYS in the 1st U.S. Congress. Lost 1791 Senate election to Aaron Burr. Portrayed by Samantha Hall-Saladino.

Capt. Willard Glazier

Capt. Willard Glazier: Soldier, author, explorer. Graduate of State Normal School in Albany. Enlisted during Civil War in 1861 in the 2nd NY Calvary. Was in 50 engagements during the War. Spent 14 months confined in Confederate prisons. After the War he authored 7 books about his explorations. Portrayed by Larry Handy.

Hamilton Family

Hamilton Family: Andrew Hamilton was a prominent attorney and author of legal textbooks who married Jessie R. Walker. The family was beset by tragedy, and Andrew was also tied to the “yellow dog fund” scandal. The exquisite Celtic cross that dominates the family plot was designed by Marcus T. Reynolds. Jessie R. Walker portrayed by Carla Sofka.

John Boyd Thacher (Emma Treadwell Thacher, his wife)

John Boyd Thacher (Emma Treadwell Thacher): Businessman, politician. Partner in family firm the Thacher Car Works. Member of the Albany Board of Health. Elected as a State senator in 1883. Served two terms as Mayor of Albany. Emma donated 350 acres of their Helderberg estate, known as the John Boyd Thacher State Park. Emma Treadwell Thacher portrayed by Diane Doring.

Elisha R. Hurlbut

Elisha P. Hurlbut: Attorney, judge. In 1847 was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Also served on the Court of Appeals. Was also quite knowledgeable on the subject of phrenology, the study of the skull. The unique design of the family monument is patterned after the headboard of Hurlbut’s bed. Portrayed by Ed Bablin.


For more stories about Albany Rural Cemetery residents, visit my page Visits With The Dead.

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2019; all rights reserved.

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The 2019 Women’s March in Albany faced a number of challenges: bitter cold, an approaching major snow storm later in the day, and a march route from the shore of the Hudson River up State Street hill to West Capitol Park. In spite of these challenges, hundreds of spirited participants showed up and marched. Here are some photos from the event.

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2019; all rights reserved.

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Some time ago activist groups created a contingency plan to protest any move by Trump to undermine the Mueller investigation. When Trump forced AG Sessions to resign on Wednesday and replaced him with a lackey, that plan was activated around the country for the next day. Even with the short notice, a few hundred people showed up Thursday evening at an Albany park next to the capitol.

The November early darkness made things interesting photographically, though the low-light capabilities of modern digital cameras are pretty amazing. (Flash was only used for the first photo.) Some resourceful people also helped out by lighting up their signs. 🔦🙂

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2018; all rights reserved.

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