Monday, December 26, 2005

A Selective Viewpoint

The classic viewpoint for photographing the exterior of English churches is from the south-east of the building. This angle usually allows the structure to be best seen and understood. Furthermore, the characteristic English church has a tower at the west end. Consequently in this view the eye is drawn through the photograph from the east wall with its large window, to the dominant tower, taking in a projecting south porch on the way. It is a very satisfying composition. I have an interest in church architecture (see my Lancashire Churches website), and consequently have hundreds, if not thousands of photographs taken from this angle because they best summarize and record the architecture of the building.

The photographer looking to compose an interesting picture involving a church does well to look beyond this viewpoint. Sometimes the context of churchyard and trees can be used. Another device is a view of the church and churchyard through the lychgate. Often, however, a part of the church can be selected, for its own interest, and because it is representative of the whole. That is what I tried to achieve in this photograph of Old St John, Pilling, Lancashire. The avenue of yews and their associated shadows make a contrasting frame for the main entrance with its sundial, the window and the modest bellcote on the roof.

If you would like to know more about this church click here.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen