If you believe access to Art is an essential component of a life well-lived – assuming basic critical needs have been met – then you might decide to live in the Northern city of Milan. Architectural beauty exists on almost every street corner in the city centre of this commercial metropolis, and it is a visual and spiritual delight. When you also factor in the high probability of coming across sculptures of this quality, adorning a facade or the entrance to a doorway, you know you are in a place where life and art coexist and complement each other. It was E. M. Forster who said, ‘Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted’. I think he was on to something.
The man who created the Statue of Liberty in New York also created this powerful sculpture in the centre of the city of Lyon. This is just one of the horses sculpted by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and is part of La Fontaine Bartholdi. I have photographed this fountain from every conceivable angle and there is always a new configuration of shapes to record. This shot is vignetted to draw attention to the overwhelming sense of drama and emovement.
I think we are all fascinated by graveyards and the stone memorials, particularly those attached to churches dating back hundreds of years. According to local records, the cemetery at the Holy Trinity church in Haddenham, Cambridgeshire has existed since the early 13th Century. Just to reassure you, this isn’t a morbid preoccupation of mine, I just like the sculptural qualities of the headstones and the often delicate engravings and relief carvings that accompany them. In the older graveyards the stone surfaces are extremely weathered and often exhibit a rich and elaborate patina of lichen and moss. This transformative process enlivens the colours and texture of the stone.
When I took these photographs around midday, the sun was very bright and i decided to focus on a monochrome interpretation and the extremes of light and shade.
I don’t really know why we honour the dead with such austere architectural forms but here in the UK, we certainly do just that. There is something deeply ironic about the contrast between the solidity and permanence of these cold hard stone blocks and the transience and fragility of the human lives they commemorate.
The late afternoon sun transforms an ordinary scene. Windows and doorways become dark rectangular shapes and intense sunlight reflects from plaster walls. In these images of geometry and order I see echoes of the surrealist Magritte, the mysterious city streets of the Italian artist Giorgio De Chirico and the cool detachment of the American painter, Joseph Albers.
For those of you also interested in the technical aspects of photography this image was taken on a Fuji X100s using the excellent Fuji Acros film simulation setting.
Please feel free to share your own thoughts and ideas.