I find myself revisiting certain places a lot. I like to do this because I enjoy the challenge of finding new compositions and images in these subjects. At first I might take some images using the most ‘obvious’ compositions, but once I have exhausted this, I find that I have to get up close and personal with the subject, to try and tease out some more interesting shots.
I’ve been doing this with York Minster a lot recently. Starting back at university has meant that I haven’t had as much time to travel, so my photography has been limited mainly to the city of York, and areas that are within walking distance of my house. It’s interesting to take such a prominent and well-known landmark like York Minster, and try to find something a bit more intimate in this Gothic colossus.
This image, of the west face of the Minster, was taken on my Lubitel 166B, with Ilford FP4+. I was particularly attracted to the shadows cast on the stonework by a tree in front of the Minster, causing ripples of golden evening light to fall on the face of the building, and these ornate wooden doors. The benefit of a medium format 6×6 negative is seen here. The exquisite detail of the Minster’s stonework makes me want to study this image up close.
This is the west face again, this time from a different angle. This was taken on a completely different day, with Ilford HP5+ (still with the Lubitel, a wonderful twin-lens reflex camera). Here the slight vignetting draws the eye up to the detail at the top of this ornate wooden door, the dark colour contrasting with the detailed stonework around it. The image is very soft-focus, with the sharpest part of the frame being the detail at the top of the door. I think this gives off a slightly pictorialist look, although I wasn’t intending that when I took the image.
Now we’ve moved away from the west face. Here the light from inside the Minster contrasts with the night outside (this was taken at about 7am). This illuminates the beautiful stained-glass window and makes it stand out against the darkness surrounding it. The only thing I don’t love about this image is the slight flare from the lights inside the Minster. If I were to take this shot again, it would be from a slightly lower angle, to avoid the direct light.
Finally, we come to the door on the south side of the Minster. Recessed beneath this beautiful archway, and surrounded by ornate pillars and the decorative arch, the wooden door fades into black at the top, leaving an area of mystery near the top of the entrance-way, accentuated by the shadow provided by the overhang. As with the images of the western doors, this is once again shot with a soft focus (I don’t think the Lubitel 166B’s lens is very sharp at f/5.6 or f/4.5) which adds an unintentional glow to the scene.
I’ve enjoyed critiquing these images, and I’m glad they turned out as well as they did. I believe there are some more images of York Minster, hiding away in undeveloped rolls of 120 film somewhere on my shelf, so it will be interesting to see what they hold. I hope you’ve enjoyed this. I enjoy writing these critiques, so it would be great to hear your thoughts as to whether or not you’d like to see more in-depth posts like this in the future.