Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category


Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

La Tour Sainte-CécileI’ve just come back from an amazing trip to Albi in south-west France. We stayed in a really nice little hotel called La Tour Sainte-Cécile about 200m from the cathedral. We were really lucky and got upgraded from a single room to a suite and the owner (a very nice man called Bertrand) went out of his way to make us feel at home.


Albi is a truly amazing city with many fabulous buildings, but the highlight is the cathedral which was built by the Cathars starting in 1282 and ending over 100 years later. Originally the building had just a single nave but in the late 15th century, after the persecution of the Cathars was ended, an elaborate rood screen, choir and chancel was added, along with a massive and elaborate porch at the south entrance. Either side of the arch into the tower is a large mural depicting the Last Judgement dating from about 1500. The rest of walls and ceiling were painted just a few years later by artists from the Emilia region of Italy with the most elaborate series of frescoes.

You can see a lot more photos of Albi, some of the local bastide towns and the Millau viaduct on my Flickr account.

All Saints Church, Margaret Street

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

About 100 yards north of Oxford Street in London lies one of the best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture you’ll ever see. It would be easy to miss this church, even though it has one of the highest spires of any church in London. If you don’t look up and see the spire when you stand outside, you could walk straight past. All Saints church is set back from Margaret Street in a small courtyard. Once inside, a world of beauty opens before you.

All Saints interior

It was designed by architect William Butterfield in 1850 and completed by 1859. Inside, the walls are covered in spectacular tiled murals. Designed by Butterfield, they were painted by Alexander Gibbs and manufactured by Henry Poole and Sons. The floor tiles are a bold geometric design by Minton. The chancel vault is a deep blue field of stars and the reredos by William Dyce (later copied and replaced by Ninian Comper in the early 1900s when the original had became blackened by the London air) depicts the life of Christ ending at the vault with Christ in Majesty.

If you seek a few moments of peace from the hustle and bustle of London you should seek out All Saints and step inside.

You can see a 360° panorama tour of the church in the main part of my website.

Update – 1/11/2013: All Saints Margaret Street have added the 360° panorama tour to their website.

Photos on ‘Daybreak’

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

ITV’s ‘Daybreak’ featured some of my photos of the church of St Magnus the Martyr this morning. They had a short item on the local London news section mentioning the 60th birthday of the National Churches Trust. They’ve created a new website – The UK’s Favourite Churches – to mark the occasion.  Boris Johnson has named St Magnus as his favourite church in London.

St Magnus the Martyr Church

No payment of course, but at least I got an on-screen credit.

St Briocus Church, Lezant

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Yesterday I photographed two more churches (Lezant and Lawhitton) in my ongoing project to record all of the churches in Cornwall. Inside Lezant was an amazing slate tomb and monument to the Trefusis family.

The memorial is made up of a chest with backplate and end wall panel. Carved in relief on the backplate, inside a border of strapwork, are three shields. The first shield displays the arms of Trefusis quartered with Tresithney; the centre shield shows the crest and arms of Trefusis impaling Coryton; and on the third shield the arms of Trefusis quartering Milliton. Some slight traces of colour remain to show how the tomb might have originally looked..

At a right-angle against the south wall is a panel divided into two parts by a border showing an angel’s head and a pattern of a trailing vine. In the top half is the figure of Thomas Trefusis kneeling on a cushion before a prayer pedestal with an open book on it. He wears a ruff with his doublet and hose, while behind him his wife kneels wearing traditional gown and headdress. In the lower half of the panel are carved the kneeling figures of two sons and two daughters, the second daughter already deceased, as shown by a small skull.

On the top panel of the chest, which is badly cracked and worn, are two verses, one of them in Latin. The front panel is decorated with a design of four scrolls each with a Latin phrase. The end panel has a verse and simple incised pattern.

This marble monument faire though it be,
Trefusis, yet is farre unfit for thee;
Thou meek and mild, incidious unto none;
This base as beynge, if traced out of earth;
Thou generous by descent, of ancient birth;
And which is most, this fraile and ever wasting;
But thou eternal now and everlastinge.
Only herein this tomb seems like to thee.
As this, so thou in Church still lovest to bee.
The soules of those whose bodies thus ar spent,
seated above the starry firmament
have gaynd a state more permanent and sure;
let him (that hopes to have his house indure
for ever) build it there, where death nor fate
shall alter or determine his estate.

The Church of St Peter and St Paul, Chaldon

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Chaldon ChurchNot much work yesterday, so I went for a drive to see the church of St Peter and St Paul at Chaldon in Surrey. It’s famous for its 12th century wall painting showing the Ladder of Souls and the Seven Deadly Sins.

The lower half of the mural depicts the torments and punishments of the wicked while the upper half shows the judgement and salvation of souls. In the centre is a ladder which people either climb to heaven or fall from to hell. The face of Christ appears in a cloud at the top. To the bottom right is the tree of knowledge with the serpent and sinners in the torments of hell. At the bottom left sinners are boiled in a cauldron. The top right panel shows the ‘Harrowing of Hell’ where Christ drives his staff into the devil’s mouth. The top left shows the weighing of souls.

A full description of the painting can be found here.

And you can see a 360° panorama of the interior of the church here.

Birding or Twitching?

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

While I’ve been working down in Cornwall I’ve been lucky enough to see some beautiful birds just by looking out of my window. There were two that I couldn’t recognise and I had to ask on a birder’s forum. It turned out they were a black-tailed and bar-tailed godwit. The photo’s not the best – I wasn’t quite close enough and I was having to shoot at 800ASA – but I’m still quite pleased to have photographed two birds at the same time that have RSPB red and amber status. I was a bit more pleased with the quality of the photos I took of a curlew and a lapwing, also amber and red status birds.

All of the photos were taken on my pocket Fuji F600.

Cornish Church Panoramas

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

In the last few days I’ve added some new 360° panoramas of some Cornish Churches, namely Ladock, Crantock, Lanlivery and Luxulyan. They all had some amazing features: the altar painting at Ladock, the font, rood screen and wood carving at Crantock, the bellringers’ painted sign and ceiling bosses at Lanlivery and the font and memorials at Luxulyan.

You can see more photos of Cornish Churches at my Flickr pages.

Seduced by Art

Monday, December 17th, 2012

This morning I went to see ‘Seduced by Art’, the first exhibition at the National Gallery to feature photography. What a disappointment! The majority of photography in the exhibition was of the Turner Prize variety – full of nothing but post-justification of a trivial concept. The comparisons between the photographs and paintings were trite and largely meaningless and showed a complete lack of knowledge of photography on the part of the curators. I find it hard to believe that the comments in the labels had any thought behind them whatsoever. My favourite referred to the photograph of the naked Man with Octopus Tattoo by Richard Learoyd (which has been used on the poster for the exhibition) which describes how the tentacle rising up the man’s back follows and reinforces the curve of his spine. It just doesn’t!

Seduced by Art

For a review that states it better than I ever could (and before you choose to part with the  £12 entrance fee), you should read what Brian Sewell thought of the exhibition.

Michael Kenna

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Trees in Snow

I saw a beautiful exhibition of photos yesterday by a guy I was at college with in the 1970s – Michael Kenna. In the intervening years he’s become one of the world’s top landscape photographers. I’m amazed at the consistency of his style over all these years – simply stunning!

If you have a chance to see the exhibition it’s on for the next few weeks at Chris Beetles Fine Photographs in London, and finishes on January 2 2013.

St Olaf House

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Back in 1979 I had the good luck to photograph a series of buildings for the ‘Thirties’ exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. The photos were used in the exhibition in a series of slide programmes with 2m square screens and featured several landmark buildings from the 1930s. One of my favourites was St Olaf House, the head office of Hay’s Wharf, situated on the Thames between London and Tower Bridges. St Olaf House was designed by architect Harry Goodhart-Rendel, right down to the details such as the door handles, clocks and carpets. One thing he didn’t design were the bas relief sculptures on the river frontage for which he commissioned his friend Frank Dobson.

I’ve spent this afternoon scanning some of the original photos which were shot on 120 Ektachrome film on a Hasselblad.

When I get time I’ll scan some photos of the other buildings, which included Highpoint 1, the Penguin Pool at London Zoo and Dudley Zoo (Berthold Lubetkin) and some of the stations on the 30s extension to the Piccadilly line (Charles Holden).