Doors of the UK – Church Doors

Our recent trip to the UK included visits to many older churches. One of our first stops was at the Kilmartin House Museum, located south of Oban on the west coast of Scotland. This museum displays some of the 5,000 years of human history in this area, and is well worth a visit. The Kilmartin Parish Church is next door to the museum. The purple church doors were attractive, while the sign “To the Stones” was intriguing. Alas, not the Rolling Stones, but the stones that were on display in the graveyard included a well-preserved collection of early grave slabs. Two late-medieval grave slabs with interesting geometric designs are illustrated here.

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Kilmartin Parish Church
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early 18th Century grave slabs

Travelling north-west from Oban we visited the island of Iona and the Iona Abbey.  The abbey is located on the site of the original monastery established by Columba, who arrived here from Ireland in AD 563. The Book of Kells was started by the monks of Iona, before they had to retreat to Ireland to escape Viking raids.

Next door to the abbey is St. Oran’s Chapel, a simple church structure that was orignally built around 1150. The Romanesque arched doorway is original, although the chapel was abandoned for 100’s of years, and was only recently restored at the same time as the abbey. Surrounding the chapel is Relig Odhráin (Gaelic for Oban), which is a graveyard that has been used for over 1,400 years. Iona is the symbolic centre of Scottish Christianity, and many Scottish kings have been buried in this graveyard.

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St. Oran’s Chapel
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St. Oran’s Chapel door

Hexham Abbey is another site of an early Anglo-Saxon monastery, founded in the old Kingdom of Northumbria in AD 674-8 by St. Wilfrid. The abbey is located in Hexham, England, in proximity to Hadrian’s Wall. The only remaining portion of the original monastery is the crypt, which is lined with stones recycled from a nearby abandoned Roman fort.

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the view from the crypt at Hexham Abbey

This is my contribution to Norm’s Thursday Doors for the week of October 18. To see what other contributors have posted, check out Norm’s blog post here.

Double Exposures

The following three images are examples of double exposures where I have combined two photos to create one image. They are all taken at various locations in England.

Marble Arch in the centre of London is a popular place for families to gather. Pigeons are always found everywhere in London. Combine a child with pigeons and you get some great action shots.

Lindisfarne Priory was our final stop when we walked the St. Cuthbert’s Way in the north-east of England. St. Cuthbert was responsible for spreading Christianity throughout the region in the 7th Century.  St. Cuthbert lived for several years on Holy Island, before he retired to his hermitage on Inner Farne Island. In this image, a modern sculpture of St. Cuthbert is blended with the remains of the priory, which was built several centuries after his death.

Grasmere is a beautiful spot in the Lake District, at any time of the year. The daffodils are out in full bloom in the spring, making for a colourful collage.

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chasing pigeons at Marble Arch
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St. Cuthbert at Lindisfarne Priory
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Grasmere church at springtime

 

Darker Tones

I have recently been experimenting with darker tones in black and white photographs. Using images that were shot in broad daylight, I have been processing them with masks and gradients to darken parts of the image. These three images are examples from this processing.

The Rock of Cashel is a popular tourist attraction in Ireland. The proximity of gravestones and the cloudy sky add to the sinister and moody look of the image.

The RC Harris Water Treatment Plant is located in the Beaches area of east Toronto. It is a majestic art deco building that looks much more impressive than its purpose – to process domestic drinking water from nearby Lake Ontario. Water purification is a basic human need, so, perhaps, the “darker” treatment is not in keeping with its altruistic public health goals.

The exterior fire escape is attached to an office building in Victoria. External fire escapes are much more prevalent in other cities, but this is a good example of a simple geometric facade with the fire escape and its shadow dominating one end of the building. Applying a gradient adds some interest to an otherwise monochromatic wall.

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The Rock of Cashel
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water treatment plant
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fire escape

Stone Prints

When I was involved in silk screen printing over 40 years ago, I always wanted to find ways to reproduce a photograph as a silk screen print (serigraph). There were many limitations in the process, which was very time consuming and required accurate registration of each colour application.

It is now much easier to create images that imitate serigraphs with the use of filters in Photoshop.

In this series, I have used images of stones (carved or free standing) and transformed them into three serigraph prints.

Jerpoint Abbey
three saints
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Kit’s Coty standing stones
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Celtic cross