Sunday, March 16, 2014

Patrick Harwood: Getting to Know the Man Behind the Camera

He is a former journalist turned professor, with a passion for photography through which he captures the history of one of the oldest and historic cemeteries Charleston has to offer.  Patrick Harwood is now adding two-time book author to his impressive resume.

Patrick Harwood in Magnolia Cemetery
"It dates back to 2008, my first time visiting the cemetery," Harwood said.  The cemetery he is referring to is Magnolia Cemetery located at 70 Cunnington Ave. in Charleston, S.C.

Harwood said the cemetery is in a remote location and he "likes the charm of it because its off the beaten path."

Magnolia Cemetery dates back to 1850 and was part of the Victorian Era. It is the biggest cemetery in Charleston, covering 150 acres and over 30,000 people are buried there.

Harwood visited the cemetery back in 2008 and started taking pictures for something to do. "It got me interested in birds and the cemetery simultaneously," Harwood said.

Once he discovered he had over 40 different species of birds photographed, he decided to write a book. His first book, "The Birds of Magnolia Cemetery: Charleston's Secret Bird Sanctuary," was printed in 2011.

Cover of first book
His first book was self published and sold about 500 copies. "It was a neat and positive experience," Harwood said.

Harwood's second book is titled, "In the Arms of Angels: Magnolia Cemetery- Charleston's Treasure of History, Mystery and Artistry."

"I started working on my second book two years ago in May 2012, and I'm very excited to announce the publication," Harwood said.

Harwood's interest in writing the book was because he wanted to know, "Who are these people who have these huge monuments in their honor?" So he started doing research.

The book has 231 pages with 10 chapters.  One of the chapters, "Children of Magnolia Cemetery," talks about the high number of children fatalities due to the diseases that occurred during this time in history.

Cover of second book
Harwood has a chapter devoted to the extensive Confederacy legacy that this cemetery offers.  "Every morning four huge Confederate flags are raised," Harwood said. There are six Confederate generals buried in the cemetery and he goes into detail about each one.

Harwood also devotes a couple chapters to the Christian symbolism, such as angels, physical bibles, flowers, etc., that are incorporated on many gravestones.  "I did a lot of research on the iconography," Harwood said.

Throughout Harwood's experience of writing his second book, he visited other cemeteries in the country to compare and contrast them to Magnolia Cemetery.

He found that Magnolia Cemetery is comparable with other Victorian cemeteries around the country, but found that "nothing of this scale has been written about Magnolia Cemetery."

Even Harwood's passion for birds came through in the last chapter, "More Birds of the Magnolia Cemetery." This chapter includes "dozens of new bird photographs, including several species not photographed in the first book."

Harwood taught himself Adobe inDesign in order to put his book together himself. "It was an interesting process, I'm happy with the way it turned out," Harwood said.

Harwood will have a book signing on Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Magnolia Cemetery, and the hardcover book is $40.

Book signing flyer
Harwood's passion and enthusiasm for the rich history of the Magnolia Cemetery and his love for photography are shown throughout his two books. He creatively captures the different species of birds that Charleston has to offer in both books as well as in his blog BirdsEyeViews.

Follow him on his blog or on Twitter (cccougar)
 to get updated on what's new in Patrick Harwood's busy life.

Also, check out my follow up story about his book signing, titled Patrick Harwood's Second Time Around.

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