This is the first in an occasional series of posts featuring images made in and around some of the churches and churchyards of rural Sussex, where I live.
This isn’t a tourist’s guide, so you won’t find detailed histories of the churches, or precise locations, and often you won’t even see full images, but rather isolated excerpts of the parts I’ve found interesting enough to want to immortalise in a photograph.
First, some background.
Regular readers will have noted a prevalence of photographs I’ve shared here made in churches or churchyards.
The appeals of these places as a photographer are multiple.
First, they are generally very tranquil and peaceful places.
Especially the rural churches I visit, where I rarely see more than one or two other people there, and often none at all.
I just like the quiet and the calm as an antidote to much of life’s greater intensity and pace.
Second, they are full of old – and therefore weathered and decaying – objects.
Which I love to photograph, with all their textures and suggested stories. It also reminds me of how nature gradually reclaims all things.
Sunlight falling across stone weathered by centuries of wind and rain makes just the most wonderful images, in my eyes.
Third, I love the history and the age of the places.
The churches are typically at least a couple of centuries old, and I see plenty of gravestones marking those who passed in 19th and 18th centuries, and sometimes even earlier.
I wonder if this gives me a kind of reassurance that some things we can count on as enduring and remaining, again in a modern world where so much is fleeting. I think it also simply helps me appreciate that I’m alive.
Finally, churchyards, and especially the churches themselves, are generally very beautiful and spiritual places.
I don’t align to any particular religion, but I do feel I’m a fairly spiritual person, and being in places like these instils with me with both a sense of awe, and quiet rejuvenation. Which draws me back to them regularly.
As you can see, there are many reasons I love churches and churchyards.
Look out for future posts in this series, if you enjoyed this one.
Do you photograph in churchyards? What do you enjoy about them?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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