Church of St Mary the Virgin, Halkyn

Yet another stunning example of a period church, set overlooking the River Dee in Halkyn, North Wales this church dates back to the late 1870’s this Anglican parish church was a lucky find for me, I accidentally saw it whilst travelling up the A55 towards St. Asaph, compared to previous churches I have photographed, this one is relatively small in comparison but none the less, still a beautiful looking church.

St. Mary’s is a listed building, situated on the eastern side of Halkyn Mountain and with fantastic views over the river Dee and it’s estuary. John Douglas of Chester completed it in 1878. Made of local sandstone, it was given as a gift to the parish by the Duke of Westminster to replace the previous church that was reputedly pulled down because it spoilt the view. St. Mary’s has the unique features of polished crinoidal limestone pillars and a beautiful font carved of similar material. It also has many striking stained glass windows. The church is generally maintained in good condition and has an active church community to fund-raise and help to maintain it.

 

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St Mary the Virgin, Halkyn

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My Reflection

My reflection on this, my final module of my Mdes in photography is to explain what I have learned during my time here. The experience of this module, and indeed the completion of it means that I have completed something that I have wanted to do for some time.

I have learned that I have to be constructive and critical of my work, previously I would of submitted anything without really examining the work and hope that I just scraped by, now I have learned that my work must be thoroughly examined before it is submitted or published online and that I have to thoroughly research anything that will have an impact on what I photograph, accomplishing this would increase my self-belief as I am sure everyone struggles with this at one time or another, I have learned to adapt to different situations when I am out in the field, whether that be different lighting conditions, different weather conditions or just simply time restraints. All of which can be major factors when choosing the medium I have chosen to photograph.

This particular module has forced me out of my comfort zone, by this, I mean the safety net of the teaching environment, I have had to think on my feet to accomplish certain aspects of my work including various different research methods, it has enforced me to plan ahead with what I am going to photograph and choose locations to suit the photography that I have undertaken.

I have learned that my choice of photography is important to me, I am not the kind of photographer that likes to take portrait photographs, I enjoy static photography, namely churches as I believe that more times than not, I will capture the right photograph as opposed to if I was a portrait photographer, I may not capture that image that works, when you are a portrait photographer, you have to wait for the client, in my line of photography, I do not have any waiting, I choose what I am going to photograph and go there, whether it be around the corner from where I live or a thousand mile away. Most of my work does not require any Photoshop editing, I like to take a photograph and show it as is, whatever settings I use when I am photographing a church, that is how the photograph will be shown, in it’s true naked form with no editing.

Because of me enrolling and completing this course I have successfully gained employment within Public Health Wales as a retinal photographer, a post that I am due to start very soon, and a post that I know that I will enjoy, getting paid for something that you enjoy doing, it’s a win-win for me.

September 24th 2019 was the preview night for the final degree show at Glyndwr university for the students that would be graduating this year and having sent out invites to several people and spoken to many, inviting them to come to the preview night of my Degree show, I was utterly disappointed when not one person that I had asked or who had seen it on social media bothered to come, seeing the other students with people they had asked to attend the show , made me feel quite dejected, insignificant and this left a very sour taste in my mouth and made me wonder if it was all worth it, after all, all I wanted to do was to show off my work to people that I know and as of yet, I have not been able to. Regardless of this I will continue to photograph and document churches in the coming months and years as I have found a love for Gothic and period buildings, the calmness that it bestows on me is something that I have never achieved from photographing any other type of medium.

I have made what I hope are friends for life during my time as a student at Glyndwr University, I have got some great memories from my time here, my visits to Auschwitz and the Salt Mine in Poland as well as the museums and galleries in London with a few of my fellow students are something that I will never forget.

If I had the chance to do this course again, knowing what I do now, I think that I would possibly start it again, had I not chosen this course and this university, would I have had the job opportunity arise that I have had? Who knows? Would I do anything different? The short answer to the last question is yes. I wish that I had chosen to photograph places of worship sooner, this way my work would have been more expanse, the work that I have done for this module in my opinion is more than adequate, but it would not of hurt to have had more photographs to choose from and to display.

 

Mdes Degree Show 2019

The photographs exhibited are part of a series that concentrates on depictions of different places of worship. Researching these sites I was intrigued by the architects who designed them, the textures utilised in the building materials at the time of construction and the minuscule details of the adorning sculptures.

 

Albeit from an atheist’s perspective I am charmed by the Gothic and medieval appearances of certain places of worship, the history that the chosen subject oozes and the calm feeling that you get when you study one for a while. The ultra-wide-angle lens chosen to capture these images sometimes distorts the photographs to enhance a sense of personification of the buildings. I particularly enjoy capturing photographs of churches especially the older, gothic and more ornate ones. St. Margaret’s, Hopton on Sea is a mid-eighteenth century church, built to replace an older church which had unfortunately burnt down. St. Margaret’s has a gothic feel with its unusual hexagonal spire and turreted top. It is something I am in awe of, it is an absolutely stunning example of brilliant architecture from the early ages.

 

Churches come in all shapes and sizes and an example is the thatched roof one depicted here. This is also known as St. Margaret’s church but is located in Hales, Norfolk. I managed to photograph this beautiful hidden little gem during a visit to the East Anglian coast. St Margaret’s is a redundant Anglican episcopal church which dates back to the eleventh century. The third photograph in this collection was taken during a recent research visit to Turkey. It is called Side Fatih Camii (Fatih Mosque, Side). Although this place of worship is relatively new in comparison to the others it is still a stunning piece of architecture. During my visit there I was fortunate enough to be invited inside. I was completely overawed, taken aback by what I saw, it was stunning and absolutely beautiful!

 

Overall the photographs that give me the most pleasure are the ones taken of churches.  When I look through the camera lens, I find myself almost transported back in time and imagine the parishioners going about their daily business, toing and froing from the church.  Whilst taking the photographs I feel a sense of calm as if nothing else matters. At that moment in time I almost feel as if I am at one with the building and at peace.

Below are the three photographs that I chose for my final degree show which were printed onto a 75 x 50 cm Canvas resulting in a fantastic set of images in my opinion.

 

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Side Fatih Camii (Fatih Mosque, Side Turkey)
St Margaret's, Hopton-on-Sea (2) - Copy
St Margaret’s Church, Hopton On Sea, Norwich
St Margaret's Hales
St Margaret’s Church, Hales, Norwich

Gwersyllt Parish Church

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The church dedicated to the Holy Trinity is in Early Decorated style, from the designs of Mr Thomas Penson of Oswestry (1790-1859) and comprises of chancel and nave with a south porch and a tower at the north east angle, surmounted by a spire, the base of which forms the vestry.

Unfortunately I have been unable to find anything out about the architect of this magnificent building, I do know it is built from sandstone and a slate roof, very much similar to all churches that were built around that time.

 

 

 

https://parish.churchinwales.org.uk/…/history-of-holy-trinity-church

Side Selimiye Camii & Side Fatih Camii

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The Camii (Mosques) that I was fortunate to photograph during my recent visits to Turkey are stunning and even awe inspiring, the tall masjid with the megaphone attached to them so they can ‘call to prayer’ also known in the muslim world as azan which happens 5 times per day which are

Salat al-fajr: dawn, before sunrise

Salat al-zuhr: midday, after the sun passes its highest

Salat al-‘asr: the late part of the afternoon

Salat al-maghrib: just after sunset

Salat al-‘isha: between sunset and midnight

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I was fortunate enough to be able to go inside the one above, what an unbelievable experience that was, the grand scale of the place, the expensive look and feel of the building it was truly jaw dropping, I remeber when I went insode i just stood there amazed for a minute or two and then said ‘WOW’

 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/practices/salat.shtml

The Call to Prayer

 

The Holy Trinity Church Bickerton

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The church above was a lucky find for myself, located in Bickerton, Cheshire it is a grade II listed active Anglican church serving the diocese of Chester, built in 1840 as a chapel to St Malpas, then in 1843 becoming the church for Bickerton, it has a gothic revival style of architecture, red sandston with a slate roof, a small church nearing it’s 200th birthday, a lovely little church and a gem to boot, I decided to photograph this at night to see how different it looked compared to the daytime, I am quite pleased I did as it turned out quite well.

 

 

Castles and churches

Markus Brunetti

The journey began in 2005 and it’s not over yet. For self-confessed nomad and photographer Markus Brunetti, Façades – a series of large-scale images of European churches and cathedrals – still needs more work.

He got the idea for it while travelling through the continent with his partner, Betty Schöner, in their so-called “expedition truck”. A vehicle they’d converted themselves, the truck allowed them to live and work on the move, travelling from country to country on what the Bavarian calls their “Grand Tour”; it also allowed them to take time out from their busy working lives as commercial photographers, and to let projects unfold at their own rate.

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Chartres  Cathedral, France © Markus Brunetti

Markus Brunetti’s Monumental Church Façades

Andy Marshall

Andy Marshall (@fotofacade) is an architectural photographer with an informed understanding of the built environment. Throughout that time he has developed a distinctive visual relationship with architectural form and space, which translates uniquely into his photography.

Although Andy does a lot of different type of photography compared to myself, I find his work to be both interesting and stimulating.

 

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Salisbury Cathedral Interior ©Andy Marshall

https://www.andymarshall.co/index

 

 

Tony Howell

Tony Howell is a professional photographer with over 40 years experience based in Truro, Cornwall. He has written three Photography books and his images have been used in countless other books, calendars, magazines, on television, in a Hollywood Movie, billboards, brochures, catalogues, greeting cards, posters, postcards, websites, national newspapers, fleets of vans and much more.

You can see Tony’s photographic work of churches here.

 

Use all or part of description

© Tony Howell

https://www.tonyhowell.co.uk/photographsofchurches.htm