Royal Holloway

University of London
I thought I’d share some images of the college where I am currently studying. The Royal Holloway is a college of the University of London, but based a little outside London itself, in leafy Egham.University of London
The main building, known as ‘Founders’, was designed by William Henry Crossland for Victorian entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Holloway as a women’s college. It became part of the University of London in 1900 and accepted its first male students in 1945.
University of London
The magnificent Victorian building seems a very fitting background for my particular degree, a Masters in Victorian Literature and Art. I am in the final stages now, with just my dissertation to go.
University of London
I have for some time now been promising a review of my latest acquisition, the Fuji X-E1, to follow up on my review in January of the Sony NEX-7. I hope to write it this weekend so if you are thinking of investing in a mirror-less camera, watch this space.

The Cathedral of the Thames Valley

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A view of St.James’s, a beautiful Victorian church in Weybridge, Surrey designed by Sir John Loughborough Pearson. This is a series of shots I took in 2009 pro bono to support the renovations work of The Friends of St.James.

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The Church of Saint Nicholas stood on this site from 1175 until the middle of the nineteenth century. St Nicholas’s was demolished in 1846 and a rebuilding programme was commenced.
The new church was dedicated to Saint James and was consecrated in 1848. Seven years later the Spire was completed, and in 1864 the South Aisle was built. A further eleven years would pass before, in 1875, the ‘Eight Bells’ were dedicated.

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Finally, in 1889, the Chancel was enlarged and the outer South Aisle was added; it was also at this time that the height of the Chancel was increased by roughly ten feet which gave a better harmony to the overall proportions of the building. The interior of the church is a lovely example of arts and crafts design.

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Installed in the West face of the south aisle is the Sacramental Window. Made from Victorian stained glass, it is probably intended to depict the sacraments of the church. This important window is made after a design by the celebrated pre-raphaelite, Edward Burne-Jones.

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St.James’s is the work of John Loughborough Pearson. Pearson, 1817-97, was a Gothic Revival architect renowned for his work on churches and cathedrals. Pearson revived and practised the art of vaulting, and acquired in it skill unmatched in his generation. St.James’s has been described as the ‘Cathedral of the Thames Valley’.

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The art of kindly vacancies

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This photograph, taken in my garden, demonstrates a style of composition that I often adopt. Particularly when shooting insects, I strive to create simple images, with a bold use of negative space, to show that the subject is small but its world is big. As a viewer of images, I enjoy compositions that are pared down to the minimal, devoid of distracting elements. They are such a direct communication between the photographer and the viewer. At the same tme, they give space for the imagination to become involved.
Once again I find myself calling on John Ruskin as authority:
“It is a great advantage to the picture that it need not present too much at once, and that what it does present may be so chosen and ordered as not only to be more easily seized, but to give the imagination rest, and, as it were, places to lie down and stretch its limbs in; kindly vacancies, beguiling it back into action, with pleasant and cautious sequence of incident; all jarring thoughts being excluded, all vain redundance denied, and all just and sweet transition permitted.” (Modern Painters, Vol III, Part IV, Ch. X)

I have put together a small gallery of images by other photographers, in many different genres, that all display this approach to composition, masters of the art of kindly vacancies. Click here if you’d like to see.