The first Cathedral I photographed was the Episcopal National Cathedral in Washington DC. Then I attended a multi-faith meeting on water representing the World Bank which was held in Salisbury Cathedral in England in July 2009, and I visited the Cathedral of Bath and Wells in Somerset where I have family roots. I was overawed by these magnificent buildings and the idea dawned to set about photographing them all – which I completed yesterday (3 March 2011) when I flew to the Isle of Man and photographed the Peel Cathedral (see Blog post -Peel Cathedral, Isle of Man – the Friendliest Cathedral in all England). A selection of the images taken at each cathedral can be seen in the Season Images Gallery.
The cathedrals of England hold a tension, an irony, being at once places of devotion and contemplation as well as representing wealth and power from a past era. A tension runs right through most elements – a warmth and a coldness, the familiar with the alien, minute detail overshadowed by vast lines and cavernous spaces. My purpose in these images is to explore these tensions, seeking not to create an architectural record but to capture unique perspectives to be reflected upon and contemplated over. A very real contemporary tension is how these sacred buildings, which have priceless historical value, recreate themselves to hold real significance in the largely secular, urban, 21st century contexts in which they find themselves and remain true to their primary function as places of Christian worship. My hope is that in a small way these images can bring to life again the dedicated creativity of centuries of artists, architects, builders and masons.
A list ….
- The most inspiring and my favorite is Wells Cathedral.
- The most striking font is in Salisbury Cathedral.
- The friendliest was Peel Cathedral on the Isle of Man.
- The most informative and amenable guide was in St Alban’s.
- The most awesome for sheer size was Liverpool.
- The cross-of-nails in Coventry was thought provoking.
- The most picturesque surroundings – Lichfield Cathedral.
- The most expensive was …….. – £120.00 per hour. (Fill in the gaps)
- The least attended was …….. – I spent an hour there and did not see anyone.
- The most unsteady – ……… Cathedral did not let me use a tripod.
- The least friendly – in …….. we had a run in with very rude University Proctors although the volunteers in the Cathedral were friendly.