All participants were asked to select 20 pictures we took during the photography workshop in Canterbury this July to be exhibited at Canterbury Cathedral. Personally, I found the selection process rather difficult and I had to go back to the pictures several times before making up my mind. I tried to choose photos that are not only nice to look at, but also have a story to tell. I hope the captions make some of them appear in a new light. I wrote about each individual day of the workshop in previous posts.
Moon over Canterbury
During the workshop we stayed in Turing College at the University of Kent. This picture was taken from the window of our room shortly after a rather crazy journey from Berlin to Canterbury. After 32°C, a bomb alarm at the airport and losing my ticket in the London underground, this peaceful scene was a pleasant change. I like the way the window pane breaks the moonlight.
Collage: Pieces of Me
On the first day of the workshop we were asked to take selfies. I usually make fun of people who post hundreds of selfies. So I wanted to do something different: A selfie where the viewer sees parts of me very close up and has to reconstruct the whole person in his or her imagination. However, in the end “blank spaces” remain, because knowing what I look like doesn’t mean knowing me as a person.
I took the individual pictures with an IPad connected to a projector. Thus, I could see what was on the screen projected much larger on the wall. It was a strange sensation to take the pictures and an even stranger feeling to submit them to an exhibition where they will be printed in large format. But I think we shouldn’t be ashamed of our bodies. Nobody’s skin or teeth are perfect and they don’t have to be.
This big seagull walked up and down the main street, hoping somebody would drop crumbs. Originally, I saw it merely as a blurry white point moving along the sidewalk. It was only later when I saw it’s black and grey parts, the yellow beak and the eye. I like zooming in on objects, because I can see them more detailed in the pictures. Photographs enable me to have a closer look at my environment, because I can look at them on a big screen as long as I like and zoom in and out. After it realized, that we wouldn’t feed it, the gull flew away.
A Sheep Preparing for the Beach
When I walk around, I focus on finding my way and not bumping into people, thus I often fail to see nice and interesting things I would have liked to look at if I knew they were there. On the way to Christ Church University this statue of a sheep was pointed out to me. It’s pretty realistic, even the texture of the wool was carved into the stone. We added my straw hat and sunglasses. I hope the artist doesn’t mind us having a bit of fun with his creation. After all, art is also what the observer makes of it. The hand of the “creator” is still visible.
Collage; Construction Work on Canterbury Cathedral
Our task for the second day of the workshop was to create a narrative of Canterbury Cathedral. With my simple collages I want to show, that a cathedral is not only a house of god full of prayer and history, but also a work in progress. While it is a tourist attraction and a place of warship for many people, for others it is also a place of work. People filled and will always fill the impressive stone building with life. The ancient stone and artwork has to be preserved and renovated constantly. The modern scaffolding contrasts with the old walls. We were allowed to have a look behind the scenes at the stonemasonry where we saw carvings and busts in different production stages, as well as tools and the workmen taking a break: reading newspapers, drinking coffee and – to judge by the table occasionally playing cards.
Collage: Stain Glass Windows of Canterbury Cathedral
I simply couldn’t decide which picture to take, so I tried to make a collage. I don’t know much about photo editing programmes and I just put all the pictures on top of another one as background, but it shows different parts of the Stain glass windows from various angles. The upper picture in the middle shows a lady reframing a window and the one next to it shows what the glass looks like when it’s laid out on a table with no light shining through. It looks quite different and I realized that the windows have to be preserved just the same as paintings on canvas.
Lighting a Candle in Canterbury Cathedral
I’m not religious, but for some reason I like lighting candles in churches of all dominations. I don’t know if they really bring luck to me and the people I love, but it’s worth trying anyhow. And although it isn’t much, the donated money helps to maintain the beautiful buildings. When I looked at it later, it took me a while to figure out what this picture was. I think the light and shadow contrast makes it interesting. Would you have guessed what it is?
A Pillar in Canterbury Cathedral
I often take pictures of things I can touch, because when I look at them, I remember what the object felt like. Sometimes I also record sounds to go with images. The combination of touch, sound and vision creates more complex sensory impressions. Standing right in front of it, the pillar looked gigantic. It is made of smooth and cool stone. In school I learned how to distinguish the different pillar types by their ornamentation, but I forgot all about it. Still, it is impressive to think of craftsmen with rather primitive tools shaping this massive stone, holding an even more gigantic roof for centuries.
Canterbury Cathedral Library
Because I can’t read print books without magnification, I mainly read EBooks or listen to audio books. However, walking through a room filled to the top with book shelves, wondering about all the knowledge they contain is impressive. I enjoyed touching the rows of books, looking at the colours and taking one out to browse through it and to smell the paper. I couldn’t read the gilded lettering at the time.
Stem of a Tree in the Grounds of Canterbury Cathedral
This is the bark of a massive old tree growing in the gardens of the Cathedral. We were told that some collector planted several of these trees in Canterbury; I forgot who and when. We found a second one in the park near the Railway station. It would have been fun to try, if all the participants of the workshop would have been able to encircle the stem. There were little green shoots growing out of the rough bark, thus the tree was young and old at the same time.
Meeting in a Nutshell
We shared a boat with S. and her 2 lovely grandchildren, because there had to be at least two adults in a boat. She had promised them the trip and we didn’t mind sharing at all. We had a nice chat and watching the kid’s fascination with the water was fun. I took some pictures and sent them to S. I’m not too happy with them, because in this one only part of the little boy is visible. A rectangular frame isn’t enough to capture moments like this. I should have held the phone in a vertical position or made a panorama, but now it’s too late. However, the photo embodies a nice memory and who knows maybe we’ll meet again some day.
13 The River Stour
Maybe because of the unusual heat this summer, there are too many water weeds and other plants in the river, making it look very green and endangering the fish population. However, in this picture the water looks clean and very blue. It reflects the plants almost like a mirror.
Balancing a Boat
This is one of the boats. I love water and want to swim and go on boat trips wherever I can. While taking the picture I saw only the long yellow shape of the boat and multicoloured spots in it. Looking at the picture I saw the people more distinctly and the man who steered the boat waving at us. He must have an enormous balance, standing free on the boat, steering it, waving at us and looking relaxed at the same time. I’d definitely recommend going on this trip. One sees ducks and birds, maybe even a fish and can take a break from the busy city.
Potted Palm Tree with Flowers at Margate Beach
These palms can be found all the way along the promenade of Margate Beach. They lent a southern atmosphere to the place.
Crowded Margate Beach
Initially, I took this picture to show my friends at home how crowded the beach was. It reminded me of Spanish beaches, only the rows of deck chairs were missing. Looking at it through the camera of my phone, I saw only sea and sand covered with dark and moving spots. On my computer screen at home I can distinguish men, women and children in the foreground and what they are wearing. I even see umbrellas and a ball. Thus photography can be a vision aid to me.
Welcome to Margate, Finest Sand in England
My mum and I collect sand from beaches all over the world. People started bringing us sand from their holidays; others think it’s crazy. It’s one of the cheapest hobbies I can think of and some of the sands have different shades or textures. We put them in little glass chars with labels on them. In Margate, I collected sand in a container previously containing olives. Maybe the sand smells of garlic now. I’ve never seen a sign praising sand before and it was hilarious that I almost couldn’t see the sand under all the sun bathers.
Beach Huts in Whitstable
On the last day of the workshop we were asked to look for regular patterns and shadows that objects make. It was only later when I came across those huts. They all look the same, standing there in regular rows with a car parked in front of each. I suppose that’s some kind of pattern.
After five absolutely hot days our last day in Canterbury was mixed. In my opinion this is a nice landscape picture, all in silver grey light and shades with the straight line of the horizon looking close and far away at the same time.
Photographers in a Net
This is the last picture I took and my personal favourite. Initially, I only wanted to take a photo of the patterns in which the fishing nets lay on the ground. The shadows were there by chance at first. It is a picture with two layers, showing the intended motive and the photographers at the same time. Many of my pictures are teamwork, because sighted people sometimes help me to position the camera.
About the Photographer:
Tina Paulick (23) is legally blind, but has some remaining sight. She is German and studies in Galway, Ireland. Tina is the main editor of our English blog.