Peter Marlow, a prominent British news photographer and a member of the highly respected photography cooperative Magnum Photos, has photographed all 42 cathedrals of the Church of England over the course of four years.
The photographs will be showcased inside The Chapel of Christ the Servant at Coventry Cathedral – a space dedicated to displaying works by contemporary British artists.
Originally commissioned by the Royal Mail to photograph six cathedrals to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the completion of St Paul’s Cathedral, Marlow became inspired by the unique aesthetics of the sacred buildings he was visiting.
After capturing the cathedrals of Lichfield, Belfast, Gloucester, St David’s, Westminster, and St Magnus in Orkney, a project which resulted in a series of stamps and a miniature sheet, he continued his work photographing sanctuaries. In the course of his endeavour Marlow employed a technique which allowed him to uniquely present each of the cathedrals from a uniform point of view.
Marlow explained, “I began by photographing the aesthetic highlights of each building, but the images seemed to merge with one another. In order to differentiate each place I needed to find a more rigorous and systematic approach, so I adopted the simple strategy of photographing the naves looking along the central axis.”
Taken from the fixed position and at the dawn, all the photographs show the perspective of natural light breaking through the main window and therefore allow the lighting to bring out the immensely impressive features of the buildings in their raw state.
Commenting on the exhibition, The Very Revd John Witcombe MA MPhil, Dean of Coventry, said, “The photographs are an incredible record of the very particular space that cathedrals offer, as places for reflection and inspiration, through both their art and architecture, as well as their religious significance. (…) It will make a lasting impression on those who visit, and encourage them to make their own pilgrimage to other cathedrals in the country.”
by Magda Pirowska
The English cathedral by Peter Marlow will be on display from April 29 – September 5, 2016
The exhibition is supported and made possible by a Grant for the Arts funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.