alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘Cathedral’

Truly inspiring – The Art of Seeing – a short video by Ken Keen FRPS


As photographers we can learn so much from each other. We can be inspired by the work and dedication of those who take pleasure in making photographs of subjects which personally we particularly enjoy. We can also admire anyone who is able to produce the finest images in the face of adversity.

I was therefore delighted to discover the work of Ken Keen a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. Born in 1934 he specialises in making images of medieval churches and cathedrals with a large format camera and printed in historical (or alternative) process: cyanotype-Rex and salt print. A passionate photographer for many decades, what is truly remarkable is that in the year 2000 he lost most of his sight and is registered blind. He is now a member of the Disabled Photographers Society.

For the last 15 years or so, with the help of close friends and fellow photographers, he visits and makes photographs of religious buildings across the UK, some of which I have been to myself for my own Churches Project. In my humble opinion his images are outstanding and I took a great deal of pleasure looking at his website – www.kenkeenandlight You can read his Biography here.

The short video, entitled ‘The Art of Seeing’ is just 20 minutes long, and is well worth viewing.

He has published a Blurb Book ‘Light from the Darkness’. I have only looked at the preview pages, but judging by the images on his website I may well be ordering my copy very soon.


Light from the Darkness by Ken Keen FRPS

Light from the Darkness by Ken Keen FRPS



Shadows of Light

Shadows of Light


In my last post ‘Shadows of the Wanderer’, the shadows referred to people or refugees, whereas in this shot made on the same day, shadows are formed by the strong sunlight as it pierces through the leaded light mullioned windows of the cloisters in Chichester Cathedral.

To emphasise these shapes of light I have increased the contrast, darkened the foreground, obliterating any detail in the flagstone floor whilst retaining  minimal information in the wall and around the windows themselves.

Do click on the image to view a larger version which will open in a new window.  

‘Shadows of the Wanderer’ in Chichester Cathedral

This is a truly wonderful and thought provoking exhibition by the artist Ana Maria Pacheco, which is currently on display in the North Transept of Chichester Cathedral in West Sussex, and runs until the 14th November.


Shadows of the Wanderer (6 of 10)


There are ten figures all wearing dark robes, each one carved from a single lime tree, with eyes made of onyx.  The two central figures, again carved from a single piece of wood, depict a man carrying an elderly person. Based on Virgil’s Aeneid from 29BC, Aeneas carries his lame father on his back to escape the burning ruins of Troy. The other figures in the shadows have very differing expressions and postures, which provoke a wide range of emotions in the viewer. As you take in the scene it is impossible to escape the synergy with todays issues of migration and people fleeing from their homes in a stricken country, all seeking refuge in another place.


Shadows of the Wanderer (3 of 10)


I rarely photograph art installations or exhibitions, as they can turn out to be nothing more than record shots. However I felt this was different, as the sculptures gave themselves to a form of portraiture, which also allowed me to make a set of images which I hope does justice to the artist’s work.

I was very fortunate to find myself in the Cathedral at a time when a single shaft of light from a high window moved through the ‘shadows’ to illuminate just one figure in the scene, almost as if the light of God was showing them the way.


Shadows of the Wanderer (10 of 10)


Shadows of the Wanderer (8 of 10)


Shadows of the Wanderer (2 of 10)


Shadows of the Wanderer (5 of 10)


Shadows of the Wanderer (7 of 10)


Shadows of the Wanderer (9 of 10)


Shadows of the Wanderer (4 of 10)


Shadows of the Wanderer (1 of 10)


For further information and to read more about ‘Shadows of the Wanderer’ please click here.

Do click on any of the images to view a larger version which will open in a new window.

Churches Project no.8 – St Mary Magdalene Chapel, Chichester Cathedral

St Mary Magdalene Chapel


My Churches Project has been rather quiet of late; in fact it’s nearly 3 months since I posted anything new, but I now have more time on my hands so I can start visiting and photographing the many churches and Cathedrals I wish to visit.

To get things underway here is an image taken this week of St Mary Magdalene Chapel in Chichester Cathedral, West Sussex. The main feature is a painting by Graham Sutherland (1903 -1980) entitled Noli me tangere (Touch me not or Do not hold me). Painted in 1961 it depicts Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene on the first Easter morning.

I like the beautiful and quiet simplicity of this chapel – The polished stone table covered with a pure white cloth. The two candlesticks on each side and the modern painting set against the aged stone of the Cathedral.

Do click on the image to view a larger version and be able to see more detail particularly of the painting itself.


The Bishop’s Cathedral – worth throwing the camera bag in the car!

The Bishop's Cathedral

The Bishop’s Cathedral

I have to admit that I don’t always have a camera with me, assuming of course I exclude my iPhone from that statement. Just occasionally as I get ready for another days work, I will throw (not literally) a camera bag into my car, believing that I may find a little time to take a few photographs on my way home and before the dinner is burnt! Sometimes this is because I specifically want to try something out which has come into my mind. I guess these thought processes inspire me to make that little extra effort to take some shots.

This sequence of events happened earlier this week. I wanted to use my 28mm f.2.8 lens as it isn’t attached to the camera that often. My default choice of lens is the 50mm f1.4 Summilux. It was a lovely bright evening with some light cloud cover. Bright enough for some shadows but not so bright to give me exposure problems. I headed for the city of Chichester and specifically Bishop’s Palace Gardens, which offers fine views of the Cathedral.

I found a position which I thought would give me a good composition. Held in the vertical position the viewfinder of the Leica Monochrom is not that easy to use. I wear glasses and the frame lines for the 28mm are in the extreme corners, so I have to move my eye or the camera around to compose the shot. I have to say there is a little guesswork involved and I try and allow a margin for error so I can crop later if I wish to. A quick look at the screen on the back of the camera tells me whether or not I need to have another go!

The other slight issue that evening was the sky. It looked a little bland but I could see some blue patches so I attached an orange filter to darken these areas and add interest to the sky. Yes an orange filter on a digital camera – something that only works with the Monochrom.  Its sensor only records luminance and not colour, so a colour filter works in exactly the same way as it would with black and white film. I like to get as much right in camera as I can and not rely on heavy post processing. Having to think about what I want the finished result to look like before pressing the shutter, is I believe a healthy discipline and will improve your photography.

I am pleased with the final result. The lighting on the cathedral and gardens could not have been better. The 28mm is only moderately wide so does not distort the view. The use of the orange filter provided more detail and interest in the sky which is an important part of the overall composition. I cropped the image from the native 3 x 2, to 5 x 4. I prefer this aspect ratio, it is more balanced to me. Its an image that I will almost certainly print, maybe quite large but that’s for another day.

Thanks for looking and I hope you enjoy this photograph as much as I enjoyed making it.

Do click on the picture for a larger view.