Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Stained Glass

Stained glass is often overlooked as an art form. I tend to look at it from three levels;firstly I look at the subject matter and try to establish what story is trying to be told; secondly I try and find out who the manufacturer was and thirdly (most uniquely); I check out its visual impact - its luxurious glow, the changing hues and patterns as the light and seasons develop.

This is the most remarkable thing about stained glass - as the day changes, or depending on the time of year, the impact for the same piece of stained glass can be completely different.

As a photographer light is important and with things all translucent a little bit tricky. With a fixed item such as a statue I can turn up each day with camera in hand and take the shot with more or less the same exposure. With the glass it's different - and any tentative use of automatic exposure would normally fail. I normally fly against the wind and reduce the exposure by 1 stop and bring out the brightness and detail in photoshop. With glass on the north side I might increase exposure by 1/2 stop.

I particularly enjoy using the 500mm lens to get up into the heights of a building and bring down the detail which people would not normally see.

At Bury Parish Church, (where I have been photographing over the last few weeks) there is a wonderfull collection of evocative stained glass in the Nave based upon stories from the Old Testament (see image above). It is a remarkably complete set by Clayton and Bell who were prolific stained glass artists during the mid to late Victorian period.

Here's a tabblo I put together of some of the images of the stained glass including one by Kempe (can you guess which one ?)

Tabblo: Stained Glass

Andy Marshall is a professional architectural photographer. Most images can be downloaded 24/7 at Alamy

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