Cathedral

Public silence doesn’t always mean inactivity and for the last few months I’ve been working really hard on a new project, for which I have completely failed to think up an interesting title. So I’m calling it ‘Cathedral’ for the time being. Please feel free to suggest better titles.

cyn210-sI intend for the project to be an intimate portrait of a place; to explore the relationship between Canterbury Cathedral and the people who have worked, worshiped and visited here over the centuries.

It is not an architectural project – my aim is not to show classic views of a familiar building. Nor am I documenting the modern visitors who throng to Canterbury day in, day out. Instead my images seek to capture the atmosphere of the place through the interplay of light and shadow; confinement and space; mood and texture.

Faces are not shown, but people appear in all these images through the traces they leave behind – the lighted candle, graffiti scrawls on stone and wood, stone steps worn away under foot. Some images represent people of the past through the monuments left to them. And every image bears the impression of the artist, craftsman or mason who helped to create the place.

The images are blue. This isn’t a digital effect, but the signature characteristic of cyanotype, my choice of medium for the project.  Cyanotype is a photographic process that dates back to the birth of photography.  I’ve used it for a number of reasons. For the viewer it demands that we see the images in different terms from ‘normal’ photographs, and invites him or her to look more closely. As a creative process it is rather labour-intensive and ‘mischievous’. Being forced to work methodically and to carefully consider every aspect of the image making process has had a profound impact on the way I’ve selected my images. Lastly it seems fitting to reflect the timelessness of the subject matter with the timelessness of the process.

I’ve posted six images on the website. You can find them under the gallery tab. The full project runs to around 30 images and I hope it might soon form an exhibition and book. It’s just a question of finishing the narrative to my satisfaction and getting my head round the publishing process.

Cathedral

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