These were the photographs I used in my final project, printed up after being prepared in post-production, in one case with filters, and otherwise using the select tool to enhance. The theme was ‘pilgrimage’.
Rochester, where the new Augustine Camino begins, is the second oldest cathedral in England, founded in the seventh century. To this day pilgrims climb the medieval pilgrim steps on their knees, although the original worn stone is protected by wooden slats.
A view of the Medway Valley from the North Downs Way on Blue Bell Hill near Rochester, Kent, on the first day of the five-day Augustine Camino. I loved the way the grey light with the sun bursting through from time to time enhanced the natural drama of the landscape. Photoshop with select tools was used to lighten aspects of the foreground to improve the balance.
The North Downs Way along which the new Augustine Camino passes has in early summer many beautiful fields of rape. We’ve all seen dreamy photos of girls with flowing blonde hair in blue dresses in this fields. I thought it a nice counterintuitive change to capture ‘older’ pilgrims, equally photogenic in their own way but perhaps a little more ‘real’, amid this glorious blossom.
John McGowan is a Discalced Carmelite who tweets out of the Carmelite Monastery in Kensington, London (@johnmcgowan50). He is among the religious working to bring a more life-enhancing tone to a medium that can sometimes feel a little toxic. This is him in the private, modern chapel at the heart of his monastery, designed by Níall McLaughlin architects from materials including gold, amber, oak and bees-waxed stucco. I spent a long time thinking about and planning this picture, to get the symmetry with the candles and Fr John with his mobile phone in hand, set against the Virgin on the other side of the reserved sacrament. The picture has an element of surrealism about it: is this devout monk really taking a ‘selfie’ in church, or is he instead preparing for his Office, Lauds or some other such?
For this last in the dream-reality series, I attended a workshop with London Photographic on macro-photography. This was a miniature model of newly married couple, surrounded by matches arranged in a heart-shape. I used filters in Photoshop to add to the surreality of this, where the flames have yet to be lit around the dream of married life. What kind of reality will the fire bring to this couple? This photo depicts a moment in many of our lives that is the end of one pilgrimage, and the start of quite another. May the road rise up to meet you all, my friends!
In these photographs, taking pictures of people in an environment that both reflected and told a story of them and their worlds, I was conscious of the work of Duane Michals. Although I considered it, I stopped short of going down a more surreal route. Exploration of the romantic and the surreal in post-production composition, bearing in mind the work of photographers such as Arno Rafael Minkkinen and the photojournalist Ernst Haas is something I was influenced by throughout this project and am excited to develop more for the future in level 3.