alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘window’

Don’t bring your own food and drink in here!

Window Sign

Dereliction, rust, peeling paintwork, missing panes of glass etc, all appeal to photographers, so we are inevitably drawn to buildings which have these traits. The bonus comes when you find a sign which enhances the image and the viewer starts to question what the story is behind the picture.

This establishment shows no other signs of ever having been a place where you could buy food and drink, let alone consume it, so I can only hope that the owner of this building was simply demonstrating the fact that he had a good sense of humour when he placed this notice in the window.

Churches Project no.11 – St Nicholas, Moreton in Dorset

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The church of St Nicholas, Moreton in Dorset

 

According to Christopher Winn in his book I never knew that about England’s Country Churches’, St Nicholas in Moreton Dorset is the only church in the whole world to have all its windows in engraved glass. I have no reason to doubt this fact but whether it is true or not, this building is a true gem. It also happens to be the burial place of St Lawrence of Arabia, so has quite a claim to fame.

 

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The west window

 

Parts of the church and the original stained glass windows were all destroyed by a German bomber in 1940. It took ten years to rebuild the church and the windows were originally replaced with green glass. The parishioners of this tiny village didn’t warm to this new look and the architect overseeing the work suggested consulting Laurence Whistler, a renowned glass engraver as well as a poet and writer. As a result he was commissioned to redesign the windows.

 

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One of the five windows in the curved apse

 

The first five engraved windows to be installed were in the curved apse and this work was carried out in 1958. These were designed by Whistler but produced by a commercial firm. All the remaining windows were personally engraved by Whistler and fitted over a period of 30 years between 1955 and 1985. The commissioned work must have cost the church and its donors an absolute fortune but the results are truly spectacular. Many of the windows are engraved on both sides which gives a 3D effect.

The south facing window shown below, is a thing of great beauty whether viewed internally or externally.

 

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A south facing window

 

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The same south facing window from the outside

 

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Detail from the bottom left hand corner of the south facing window

 

The most controversial engraving is that of a man hanging from a tree with coins spilling from his hand. It depicts Judas, the betrayer of Christ and is only visible from the outside. This section of the window is obscured from the inside by a wall monument. This engraving was not well received by the parishioners initially and was only installed in 2014, some fourteen years after Whisler’s death in 2000. This particular window was donated to the church by Whistler himself so he must have felt rather betrayed that it was not accepted by the church at the time of its presentation. I can quite understand why its macabre depiction of Judas would have caused a very mixed reaction.

 

 

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Judas – donated by Whistler himself

 

The church is filled with light and each and every window is full of the most remarkable detail, unlike anything else you will see elsewhere, let alone in a small country church in the lovely county of Dorset.

 

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More detail from the south facing window

 

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Again more detail from the south window

 

One window is dedicated to Noel Findlay and the words in the right hand pane ‘and his gift of happiness’ have so many meanings in this rather wonderful place of worship.

 

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The lower half of a north facing window in memory of Noel Findlay

To fully appreciate the superb glass engravings do click on any image to open a larger version.

Roses by the window – inspired by Josef Sudek

Recently I came across an image I had taken back in 2014 of a bunch of roses in a vase. They were on a window sill with rain drops on the window glass. I remember taking the shot with a large aperture opening to give me a narrow depth of field. Only one rose is truly in focus, so the overall effect is quite soft, but this works for me.

 

Roses by the window

 

When making this image I was reminded and influenced by the work by Josef Sudek. I particularly enjoy and admire his photography and his creative use of light in an image. A Czech photographer, he was born in 1896 and spent most of his life in Prague. He died in 1976. A year or so ago I was given a book of his work called ‘ Josef Sudek – Legacy of a Deeper Vision’. A beautifully produced book with many fine plates of his photography. (See a picture of the front cover below).

 

 

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I was first drawn to his work when I saw his pictures of St Vitus Cathedral in Prague and later I enjoyed a series of photographs taken from the inside his studio which he called ‘The Window of my Atelier’. Condensation on the inside of the window or rain drops on the outside would often be a feature of this work. He would also make images of simple objects he had in his studio, an empty glass, an egg or a small vase of flowers. They were sometimes placed on a window sill and making the most of the light he would produce some very effective and almost ‘poetic’ photographs. He unquestionably made the best use of his immediate surroundings.

I have included a pictures of a couple of plates from the book, by way of examples of his work.

 

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I seem to be spending a fair amount of time at the moment considering a variety of projects which I think could prove interesting. I already have my Churches Project underway and this will continue, but there are a number of others that could well occupy my time in the months ahead. As part of this period of consideration and planning, I like to study the work of other artists and photographers. This can be beneficial in a number of ways. It can certainly inspire, influence and be thought provoking; all of which can only aid creativity and help define the path ahead.

From all of this it would appear my approach to photography is going through a contemplative stage. I believe it’s all part of an ongoing process which aids the development of your own style and vision. What might be a good idea today, is often challenged by a counter thought the next – and so the process unfolds until the original concept is either scrapped or possibly pursued to a conclusion. With nothing decided it can be a little frustrating at times, particularly when the outlook is less than clear, but ultimately I think the results of this planning stage will prove rewarding.

You can see more of Sudek’s photographs by clicking on this link to my Pinterest board of his work

The Archangel Gabriel – Sanctuary and tranquility in South Harting Church

Archangel Gabriel

The Archangel Gabriel

 

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.


	

Shutter, window and steps – a simple picture?

Shutter, window and steps

Shutter, window and steps

There is something about this image which appeals to me. It’s a fairly straightforward and simple composition, made up of three principal components. There is light coming through the window on the left, balanced by the dark shadow area on the right. The contrast of light and shade is separated by the window shutter which is worn with peeling paintwork needing attention. The wooden steps have a lovely grain to them but it is unclear from the photograph where they lead. Up to another floor possibly or just a high level cupboard?  To climb the steps you would need to close the shutter, cutting out the light – why was it designed this way? Through the window the out of focus detail hints at a garden beyond with a line of trees on the horizon. Bright spots on the glass suggest it might be raining. A simple image perhaps, but on closer observation plenty to hold the viewers attention, at least that’s what I believe.

It reminds me of the saying by Ansel Adams – ‘There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer’. If both are happy then I guess that’s what makes a successful photograph.

This photograph was taken with a Leica M Monochrom and 50mm F1.4 Summilux lens – @f2.4 1/2000th sec ISO 3200

Do click on the image for a larger view.