JEANE Trend-Hill’s hobby is anything but conventional. The 47- year-old visits cemeteries across Europe – to take photographs of tombstones.
She teams family holidays to places like Venice, Paris and Vienna and visits sites where hundreds of people were buried during the Victorian era.
She said: “I started photographing Victorian cemeteries and memorials to preserve their memories. Many are being lost, so I wanted to do something before it was too late.
“I really enjoy walking around cemeteries. A lot of people think it would be eerie, but I find it very peaceful.
“Some are creepier than others, but a lot of cemeteries are also really beautiful.
“The Victorian headstones have so much more detail than the ones today. It’s interesting to learn so much about the people who are buried in them.”
Jeane, from Langdon Hills, quit her job as a local authority fraud investigator in 2006, and is now a full-time headstone hunter.
Her love of photography stems back to her childhood. She said: “When my dad was alive he was a very talented photographer, so I was always brought up around cameras.”
Her interest in all things Victorian, and in the afterlife, has also seeped into other aspects of her life and career.
She advises on the symbolism of graves, and has written 29 books, as well as articles for national newspapers and magazines.
She also studied mortuary science and criminology, and is involved with preserving monuments.
Jeane admitted holding back about her hobby when meeting new people.
She said: “If I am not sure how they’re going to react, I hold back and tell them I’m just a photographer.”
Jeane is not alone with her love of photographing gravestones, and a national competition takes place every year to showcase the unsung beauty of memorials.
Two years ago, Jeane was the winner, and for the past two years she has made it into the top ten finalists.
This year she was handed a bronze certificate in recognition of her photography.
Christopher Lodge, director of masonry at national funeral directors, Lodge Brothers, which sponsors the competition, said: “Memorials play a part in our social history.”