52 Weeks of Yorkshire – Week 7

This week has been another stressful one, as it’s coming to the end of term, and so this is another late upload. I’ve felt very uninspired in photography recently, which I think is a combination of the stress and the lack of time to go out and explore. With all of the work that I have to do, this project has taken on a second purpose. As well as giving me a way to explore the area in which I live, it has forced me to set some time aside for photography every week, and without it I probably wouldn’t have taken any images in the last two weeks.

Yesterday I decided to go for a walk along the River Ouse, giving me a chance to get away from work, get some exercise, and shoot. I ended up in the village of Bishopthorpe. The bells of the village church were ringing as I walked into the village, and the atmosphere reminded me of home.

Bishopthorpe Palace (Flickr).jpg
Bishopthorpe Palace

 

Bishopthorpe Palace is a manor in the village of Bishopthorpe, built in 1226 and remodeled in the 18th century.  The manor has been the official residence of  the Archbishop of York since its construction by Archbishop Grey in the 13th Century. The Archbishop of York is a senior Archbishop in the Church of England, second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and so is an influential figure in the Church. While I am not myself religious, it is undeniable that Christianity has played a crucial role in the history of this country, for better or worse. Throughout history it has inspired great works of art and philosophy, and has helped many find meaning in their lives, like countless other religions and philosophies around the world, but like many of these other religions and philosophies, it has also caused wars and fueled hate.

It is not impossible to admire religious buildings and art while abhorring the conflicts caused by people in the name of faith. If you were to reject the product of any culture involved in hate and destruction, you would sadly be left with very little in this world. Without religion, we would not have beautiful buildings like this, like York Minster, and like the thousands of other awe-inspiring buildings and works of art constructed by people of all faiths, across all ages, in every country on this planet. They are no more beautiful than those not inspired by faith, but they help make this world a richer place. Rather than hating and shunning one another for differences in faith, race, culture or any other aspect, we should work towards understanding one another as human beings, for that is the only thing that can unite the world.

Had you asked me two months ago if I felt like I brought my beliefs and politics into my photography, I would have said no, and laughed, as if a picture of a tree could in any way be a political statement. However, I’ve come to realise that my photography speaks for my beliefs in a way more subtle than many images we see with an obvious message, but that it doesn’t speak any less. Every shot I take is a product of who I am as a person, and so it is impossible to divorce my art from my beliefs.

If you’re not too interested in my beliefs, I’m sorry that the image played a minor role in today’s post, and that the post was fairly long-winded. The image itself, while nice, isn’t one I’m particularly enamoured with, and isn’t particularly technically complicated. I’ve felt very uninspired recently, and haven’t had a lot of time for Ghosts, the series I’m working on at the moment, or any other piece of work. Hopefully when the Easter holiday comes, that will change.

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