In the previous post, I presented a photographer, Levon Biss whose special project involved tiny insects that yield gorgeous photographs. I will now go to the other extreme and present the work of John Eaton and his photographs of the medieval cathedrals of England. I first learned about John Eaton and his project when he wrote a detailed comment on my post, Architectural Photography – 2. I took a quick look at his website and indicated in my reply that his photographs reminded me of Frederick Evans.
Since then, I have visited his site several times and viewed his photographs much more carefully. Seriously lacking in history, I was surprised at the number of medieval cathedrals in England. And, I am not even sure if he has covered them all. The photographs are meticulously structured and executed to convey their massive scale, architectural style, and intricate ornamentation.
Medieval Cathedrals of England
The project took John about 7 years to complete as he traveled to England once a year. But his efforts yielded photographs that convey how hard the stone is, or how smooth the surfaces may be, as well as the intricate workmanship. He said in his comment that he had to learn the tilt-shift capabilities of cameras and lenses and learn, he did! The renderings of the interiors, naves of these cathedrals, their walls and columns, ceilings all framed and perspective corrected carefully and convincingly.
The symmetry, geometry, curves, lines, and minute details are carefully tied together to create the architectural whole. You will see the graceful arches creating a formidable presence of form, and how the form embraces the space and presents it to the viewer in a beautiful way. Not only is the architecture remarkable, but its photographic presentation of them does justice to the structures. The photographs, at least the ones I picked are devoid of any people as if nobody ever used these places. Make no mistake about it and take a close look at the A Sea of Steps; notice the hard stone stairs sagging from centuries of feet stomping on them going up and down. That photograph, by the way, made me think of Frederic Evans and it is John’s way of tipping his hat to the old master. Note how well the worn-out steps are hit by the incoming light, accentuating the worn shapes; just like the photograph by Frederick Evans.
A Large and Orderly Collection
There are many, many photographs organized into collections by the cathedrals. I have selected a small number of them and asked for his permission to use them. He kindly agreed and provided the photographs you see in this post. They are presented with their original captions, without further detail because they are out of their context. I am presenting them here just to whet your appetite to ask for more. You can see the large collection of photographs captured very carefully, methodically, but with great respect and emotion at John Eaton’s website dedicated to this project, English Medieval Cathedrals.
If you like to see his other work, don’t hesitate to visit his other site to see a greater variety of photographs. He even has a large collection of mosques in Istanbul among his collections! Thank you, John, for allowing me to use these photographs here; they are just the tip of the iceberg. (All photographs in this post are Copyright © by John Eaton, published with permission.)