A few weeks ago I started a new photographic project on Churches. Whilst I would document whatever I found and liked on my travels, my intention was always to apply my own interpretation and in so doing, try and express the feelings I had for the subject in the resulting image.
Quite recently I was delighted to find this sculpture of The Archangel Gabriel in the North transept of the Church of St Mary and St Gabriel in South Harting, West Sussex. Commissioned by an anonymous benefactor, the sculpture was created by the renowned sculptor Philip Jackson and was unveiled by the Bishop of Chichester in 2009.
The dynamic range was challenging and my first attempt to process the image was not to my liking. I left it a couple of days and returned to the original RAW negative and started again. In the intervening period I thought about what went ‘wrong’ the first time, and applied some alternative techniques to make the picture.
For me there is an ethereal and spiritual feeling to the finished image, combined with one of sanctuary and tranquility. Whilst the Angel is a very recent addition to the church, the picture also has a timeless quality to it and this was an important factor to keep in mind when processing the negative.
You might be interested to know that on closer inspection of the sculpture, which is suspended by almost invisible wires, there is a carved inscription down the side of the Angel’s robe. It reads – ‘AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENA DOMINUS TECUM. Although I was taught Latin at school by a blind teacher many years ago, there was no way I was going to be able translate this phrase without some help. I typed the words into Google Translate and in an instant the phrase was given to me in English. It reads – ‘HAIL MARY, FULL OF GRACE, THE LORD IS WITH THEE.’
I will return to this church as there are other elements which I would like to capture for my Churches Project, but I felt this image was deserving of an entry in its own right.
To fully appreciate the photograph you might like to view a larger version. if so, then do click on the image which will open in a new window.
Thank you for looking and reading.