The recent extended period of less than ideal weather forced me to assess my approach to my photography. Perviously, my work had relied largely on good light at sunrise and sunset. However, with what seemed like a constant cloud cover, a couple of weeks of inactivity began to make me feel quite frustrated.
As sunrises and sunset were commonly obscured by thick layers of grey cloud, it seemed that afternoon was the time that the light had more of a chance of finding gaps in the cloud. It seemed that I was going to need a rethink of my subject matter.
History, legend and folklore have had a huge influence on my work since the beginning. So the choice of subject matter was a fairly easy one to make. As the weather was largely ruling out convention landscapes, I would just shift the focus onto more historic subject matter shot in black and white, that quite suited the dark skies and brooding atmosphere.
So this was the beginning of my new project. To not just collect images of historic locations but to collect their stories too. I hope that maybe one day it will ultimately lead to a book of some shape or form.
These are the ruins of Monk Bretton Priory, near Barnsley. A Cluniac priory founded in the 1150s by Adam Fitz Swain. It was the place of the Black Monks of St Mary's Priory, found in 'A Lyttell Geste of Robyn Hode'. It became an independent Benedictine house in 1281 after refusing the Cluniac priory at Pontefract the right to elect their Prior.
Following the dissolution, the priory's contents were seized, the buildings mostly destroyed and the stone used to build a home for the Talbots and later the Armyne family. It is said that the Black Monks can still be spotted sometimes, flitting amongst the ruins.
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