Dean of Durham's photos show Landscapes of Faith at World Heritage Site Centre

By Ben Miller | 16 November 2012
A black and white photo of a dramatic seashore showing sand and a castle in the distance
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dunstanburgh Castle (2012)© Durham Cathedral
Exhibition Preview: Landscapes of Faith, World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, Durham, until December 9 2012
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove has been a deacon, priest, curator and an author. For a man with so many strings to his distinguished bow, his appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, in 1996, is perhaps overlooked among his achievements.

“I have always loved great architecture – it has been a strong influence on my photography,” he says of his first exhibition, which has given him the chance to take a closer look at some of the north-east’s famous landmarks.

“My chief inspiration has undoubtedly been Durham’s magnificent Romanesque Cathedral and its surroundings on the wooded Peninsula.

“It is a privilege to have begun to get to know this marvellous building intimately by living and working in this incomparable environment. Photography is one way of appreciating and interpreting its splendour.”

Sadgrove started out using a compact camera discarded by his daughter – the viewfinder, he says, offered “a sound training” when it came to the composition of his shots.

But he admits that “a new world opened up” when he bought his first SLR camera, a Canon 400D, and his latest conduit, the Canon 7D, has allowed him to help his son become an adroit amateur photographer.

Some of the Dean’s photos have been used in postcards, newsletters and promotional materials for Durham Cathedral, but there’s an international angle to this exhibition in a section of comparative shots featuring the Basilica of St Mary Magdalen, in Vézelay, Burgundy, which Sadgrove considers the home of some of the greatest Romanesque churches in the world.

The Basilica was built at exactly the same time as its Durham counterpart, and both stand at the centre of World Heritage Sites visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.

The selling exhibition will also support the creation of new facilities which will highlight the collection of works first built for pre-Reformation Monks in the Cathedral.

  • Open 10am-4.30pm. Admission free. Follow the cathedral on Twitter @durhamcathedral.

More pictures:

A colour photograph of a castle shrouded by tall trees and shrubs next to a wide river
Durham Cathedral from Prebends Bridge (2012)© Durham Cathedral
A photo of a cathedral city as seen from slate roofs at dusk with the glow of the sunset
Durham Cathedral from the railway station (2011)© Durham Cathedral
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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