Architecture / Art / Photography

A Sea of Steps

My wife and I visited the South-West of England over the weekend past and one of the places we took in, albeit far too briefly was Wells Cathedral. As a student of architectural photography I was only too aware that one of the most famous early 20th century architectural photographs – ‘A Sea of Steps’ was made there by Frederick H. Evans (the first link is to Christies and shows a print of this famous image has sold for $233,000).

According to Britannica Evans was; “A man of strong opinions on many subjects … constantly involved in controversy. His most impassioned beliefs involved what he considered to be the proper practice of photography. A purist, he believed in never altering a photographic image after exposing the film. His goal was to create an aesthetically and spiritually satisfying image, utilizing the play of light and shadow on static architectural structures.”

I would subscribe to much of this and do try to take very straight shots which require as little processing once they are off the card as is practically possible so, as a little homage to Evans, I decided to reprise that iconic image of the stair to the Chapter House. I popped my Zeiss 18mm on to the front of My A7r and made a couple of exposures. A cropped from which is here.

While the soft, filtered light of the cloudy day is very beautiful I don’t think I achieved the composition…_DSC5155-2

I also made a shot of the Chapter house ceiling itself (below) which make full use of the lens’ low distortion and 100º diagonal field of view.

_DSC5160-2

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