alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘Hartland’

M. O’Donnell & Sons – Yesterday’s superstore today

M. O'Donnell & Sons

M. O’Donnell & Sons

During our recent stay on the west coast of Devon, close to the borders of Cornwall, we visited the village of Hartland. It’s a rather quaint little place and for the most part unspoilt, which I rather liked.

It had very few shops but one which did attract my eye was ‘M. O’Donnell & Sons’. In the left hand window there was a small selection of fruit and veg, whilst to the right there were some woollen hats, a knitted scarf, a few buttons and other items of haberdashery for sale. The notices in the door were up to date – Not to be missed, the ‘Strawberry Tea’ which was coming up on the 1st July. There was no state of the art spotlighting, just a couple of bare light bulbs and a small fluorescent tube to illuminate the interior of this double fronted shop. The bay windows were in a poor state of repair, and everything including the sign above the door needed a fresh lick of paint. Had it been in pristine condition it would not have had the  character or the appeal which enticed me to take a photograph in the first place.

It made me think that in its time it would have been the ‘local superstore’ of its day, selling a variety of things which you probably couldn’t easily buy elsewhere in the village.  Local residents would have been eternally grateful to the O’Donnell family, as this little shop would have prevented a long journey into the nearest main town. I don’t know, but perhaps the present community feel the same way and continue to support the shop, after all it would be rather sad to see it close, wouldn’t it?

Do click on the image to see a larger version, only then will you be able to see some of the items for sale in the windows.



Churches – an exciting new photographic project

St Nectan, Stoke in the Parish of Hartland in Devon

St Nectan, Hartland in Devon

For quite some time I have been considering undertaking a photographic project but have lacked inspiration – until now.

Some months ago I read two very good books; one called ‘On being a photographer’ by David Hurn in conversation with Bill Jay; and another entitled ‘The Essence of Photography’ by Bruce Barnbaum, both of which I can highly recommend. Each publication talked about the benefits to be derived from working on a project, whether small or large, and irrespective of the time it might take to complete.

In ‘On being a photographer’ the author writes – “The subject matter you select must; a) fire your enthusiasm and curiosity at least for the length of time it will take to produce a meaningful body of work; b) lend itself to images, as opposed to words and; c) remain continuously accessible so that you can return time and again to the same topic whenever you wish or have the time.

From the same book it reads – “The more the shooting, the greater the enthusiasm and knowledge for your subject. The greater your knowledge, the more you want to do it justice and this increases the scope and depth of the pictures. So the process feeds on itself”.

Committed to the idea that I would like to start a project, but not knowing what it might be, I was recently inspired by a famous book called ‘Betjemans Best British Churches’ to visit and photograph a number of churches listed during a recent holiday in Devon. I soon realised that I would often photograph these buildings and their locations whenever the opportunity arose, but I had never thought of it as a project.

The penny has finally dropped and whilst this work will not be at the expense of making images of other subjects, it will give me a sense of direction and purpose. There are about 2,500 churches in the guide so I will not be short of material. Some are close to home so easy to visit in a day; others I can research and look forward to visiting as travel and holidays permit. Interiors are just as important as the exterior, so I am not entirely dependent on the weather. Landscapes are my other great love, so visiting a church will take me to new areas as well.

Inspired, excited and full of enthusiasm I have created a new section on this site, not surprisingly called Churches Project . Do read  the introduction and by way of a start I am pleased to show a photograph of one of the churches I visited in Devon in this post.

The Church of St Nectan is in the hamlet of Stoke in the Parish of Hartland. It is often referred to as the Cathedral of North Devon. I like the fact that the tower, which was built as a landmark for mariners, is partially obscured by low cloud and the way the cluster of daisies in the foreground appears to be replicated by the lichen on the gravestones.