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Special Problems - Images of England

johnriley1uk

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Special Problems - Images of England

31 Jul 2020 12:27AM   Views : 248 Unique : 169

Shooting images for English Heritage's Images of England project was quite an eye-opener and developed our attention to detail in architectural photography. We started to look up from ground floor level, started to learn how to find some of the more obscurely detailed locations and started to remember to include enough of the surroundings to put the buildings into context.

Finding places was an art form in itself, and the description of "boundary post on Vale Royal Cut" was terrific - which one of hundreds of boundary posts might that be? In the end, it turned out that it was the one boundary post that was kept carefully painted. So here is the "listed building" in its full glory.
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Churches can be a problem, mainly because access is limited and the chance to include all the building and yet be far enough away to avoid converging verticals can be slim. However, here there are steps leading up to a small mound and so we end up at the corect level to obtain a comfortable perspective.
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Not so in this example, where the building is inevitably leaning over backwards. Unfortunately, the rule of engagement, so to speak, was that this could not be corrected as the image had to be true and accurate. Just out of interest I also did a corrected version, but I only use this is in presentations as a talking point. To correct or not to correct? I feel that the corrected image does look better and does not significantly alter the building as a record, but recognise that Images of England shots have a different requirement that must be met.
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One of the most difficult problems though was not photographic, but the sheer difficulty of finding a place. There was the boundary stone that we eventually found someone had pinched to put in their garden. There was the mill, and how can we possibly misplace a mill? Well, a few weeks before we were looking for it it had the temerity to burn to the ground. There were the roads that had tiny footpaths that actually were the original line of the road, but usage over the years changed the priority. Some we never found, but thankfully these were few and far between.

My last picture today is one of our triumphs, called La Mancha and hiding behind large gates that lie behind tall impenetrable hedges. I phoned up the owner to ask if we could call round, and she said certainly she'd be glad to see us but we'd never find them without help. Actually for once we knew exactly where they were, by a total fluke of turning up a ridiculous road by accident and arriving at the locked gates. They were very hospitable and even fetched a large hedge pruning frame so I could get a nice height to avoid converging verticals. It was always a pleasure to meet people who were friendly and who loved the history of their homes.
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