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The Cathedral

This is very much work in progress.


The cathedrals of western Europe have been a source of personal fascination for over 30 years, both as places of worship and as sources of inspiration for photography. Their physical presence and their symbolic signifcance are once again captivating me photographically. What has currently emerged are three distinct areas of exploration around three themes; space, sculpture and stained glass. These encapsulate a number of the particularly significant aspects of these historic buildings that were fundamental developments through the 12th and 13th centuries in what is referred to as the Gothic Cathedral. Their space was unique at the time in terms of scale (within Christian church architecture) and it was space that represented the symbolic and the practical (theological thinking and liturgical practice).


The sculptural figures, particularly those of the exterior portals, were complex and dense iconographic programes that reflected key figures and theological narrative. And the proliferation of the use of stained glass, a direct result of the developments in construction techniques, resulted in theologians of the time, such as Abbott Suger at St Denis in Paris, to postulate theoretical tretise on the ideas of lux, lumen and illumniation. The elements of sculpture and stained glass can be viewed in the 'Sacred Portraits' section of this website.


The element of interior space is what is being explored in this developing series on this page. Much like Frederick H Evans, in attempting to interpet these extraordinary interiors I am not wishing to simply document what I witness. There is a wish to express a sense of their mystery. At once they are spaces constructed through solid structures of stone, wood and metal, and yet they represent something so intangible and invisible in spiritual terms.


In photographing the buildings at night, devoid of human population and the light of the day, I'm wondering whether this intriguing dichotomy between the tangible and the intangible can, in some way, be expressed.



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