December 11 2013 Latest news:
Monday, August 26, 2013
Its soaring spire has dominated the city’s skyline for centuries, but now an exhibition of photographs by the Dean of Norwich’s son is seeking to bring new perspectives to Norwich Cathedral.
Ben Smith, whose father Graham will soon retire to Devon after nine years in the Deanery, spent two years creating a collection of 50 images that aim to capture the visual relationship between the city and its historic spiritual centre.
And now 15 of them have been mounted for a special free-of-charge show at the cathedral.
The 33-year-old said when he first came to the city he fell into the “trap” of taking the same photographs tourists take, but he then decided he could try to do something different.
He said: “I wanted to almost rejuvenate the viewpoint of the building that many people have. I have already had lots of people saying ‘How did you get that view’, so it’s been quite an exciting project from that point of view.
“A lot of the perspectives are a wide angle, and incorporate residential and business Norwich with the building, and you can see how it fits together. From a raised position you can often see the significance of the building.”
He said one particular image, which includes the city lights twinkling from Ketts Hill, shows the cathedral and its relationship with other familiar city landmarks, including the Forum, the Church of St Peter Mancroft and the Catholic Cathedral.
He said his father’s position helped open doors to a number of places not open to the public from which he found unfamiliar views, including dangling out of windows to give his photographs extra height.
Although based in Oxford, Mr Smith travels to Norwich about once a month, and described it as his second spiritual home, and said exploring it had shown him how proud people are of their own particular views of the cathedral.
He said: “I have found that I have been lucky getting some dramatic dusk and dawn photos using long exposures that have somehow captured some very atmospheric lights that I think complement the elegance of the building.
“You do get it elsewhere, but there’s something about Norwich light, and I’m very pleased with the results.”
One of his more unusual compositions shows a horizontal urban landscape of terraced houses and an Indian takeaway photographed across a car lot, with the vertical shaft of the cathedral spire protruding from the distance.
Mr Smith said: “That was taken when I was coming down from Ketts Hill. The light had gone all orange.
“It’s a classic example of how I was trying to work in the business and residential, and suddenly you have this huge spire. It just hit me between the eyes that it was a brilliant image to take.
“You would never see that photo in a guidebook, but it was one of the key ones to show in the exhibition because I wanted to be different.”
He said he had been asked to put his images forward to be used on Christmas cards, and his father had asked him to create a photo book from his images to remind him of the city after his retirement.
The exhibition run in the Locutory, opposite the donations desk, until September 5, and is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday, and noon to 3pm Sundays. Admission is free and open to everyone.
Cards and mounted printed are on sale, and the actual exhibition pieces can be bought for £200.