Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) is located in Portugal, inside the walls of Évora city near the Church of St Francis. It is a small chapel with only 19×11meters built in the 16TH Century but it is a totally different chapel due to the fact that it is made of bones and skulls from 5000 skeletons held by cement!!!
It may sound creepy (and it is) but it was built by a Franciscan monk to make us think of our mortality and transmit the message of life being transitory.
Above the entry to the Chapel of Bones you can read “Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos” (We bones here, for yours we wait). It pretty much says everything, once you enter the first feeling is horror, it is actually made out of real leg bones, arm bones, and skulls stacked, even in the pillars and ceiling. It is shocking but it really makes you think about our mortality.
Once I started to take some photos, the macabre mood dissipates and shutter frenzy takes place; it is an awesome place to take photos, especially in B&W, I burned two films in no time. You can make some really awkward, creepy, dark photos but in the end it is a sad reminder of our mortality, and that we should do the best out of our lives, to enjoy every single second of it. Sometimes you need to be confronted with it, you need to see it with your own eyes to figure it out.
In the end of the visit I didn’t find Chapel of Bones horrifying anymore, I see it as a life lesson, I fully understand the message that the Franciscan monk from the 16TH Century was trying to pass. I used Lomo LCA loaded with B&W Agfa Silvertone APX 400 and Ifbaflex TTL loaded with Ilford 3200 iso.