October 26, 2006

Gothic Revival in Fredericton

Digital original
I have not worked with architectural subjects in any concentrated way since my trip to the USA in 2000. This is due to the strength of my interest in a specific period of architectural history (later 19th century military fortifications), and my lack of interest in most modern architecture (the fact that Halifax, where I live has little in the way of interesting modern architecture doesn't help this either). All this being said, I have a deep and unsatisfied love for architectural photography, so when I was driving through Fredericton in search of a source of breakfast foods, and passed by a beautiful stone chapel, I knew I'd have to return and photograph it before I left town to head back to Moncton.
Digital original
The chapel (St Anne's Chapel of Ease) turned out to be a 19th century Gothic revival church, based upon the older designs from Europe, as opposed to more contemporary designs of the era in which it was built. As such it had great resonance for me (I lived in England briefly as a child), and as soon as I could, I was back at the chapel, camera and tripod in hand, exploring the exterior, and making what images I could in the time I had. While I was photographing outside, Joy went and tried to gain permission to photograph the interior as well, but the chapel was in use for the day, and it would only be possible to photograph the interior on another day, which wasn't possible for us, given the schedule we were on.
Digital original
In retrospect, the most interesting thing about my photographs of the chapel is that they are all details. I had no interest in showing the building as a whole, set in modern day Fredericton. I was looking for the grace and beauty of old-world architecture, and found the juxtaposition of the "real" world around it, sidewalks, power lines, and single family dwellings, to be jarring and problematic. So I kept my eyes on the details for after twenty cold minutes or so of photographing, before heading off to make plans for the the rest of the day.

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