Vince Leo: Remembered as a Blessing by Vince Leo
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Visitation Stones in Jewish Cemeteries
Essays by Rabbi Morris J Allen and Daniel Mendelsohn
A beautifully somber photographic meditation on an ancient Jewish ritual
The Jewish tradition of leaving a stone or pebble at the gravesite of a loved one is an ancient custom of remembering the departed by means of a humble natural object. Minneapolis-based photographer Vince Leo (born 1949) began taking photographs of these “visitation stones” after several people close to him died in quick succession, and he found himself enacting the ritual of grief over and over. Placing a stone is a simple but powerful gesture that connects the living to the dead.
Remembered as a Blessing contains 30 of Leo’s black-and-white photographs, which honor these stones as the complex objects they are: simultaneously hard, durable pieces of matter and embodiments of ineffable spiritual relationships, often among many generations. Each of Leo’s photographs fuses light, focus, viewpoint, reflection and magnification into a moment in which the ordinary and the symbolic coexist. Daniel Mendelsohn, acclaimed author of The Lost, contributes an essay.
Year first published: 2023