During December 2009 and early January
2010 I was lucky enough to be able to return
to my old
school to make night images there once more.
As I have already
described elsewhere it was while I was a pupil at
in the early 1980s that I started taking night
experience had a huge effect on me, and I
think that subconsciously
all my night work since has its roots in the
striking mixture of
Gothic architecture and sky I marvelled at
while there as a boy. Buildings and a
landscape that I could touch, stars that were
beyond my reach, magically contained within
the same photographic frame.
If I am honest I was never completely
happy with my early Charterhouse night images.
Back then I had
access to comparatively slow lenses and film
which wouldn't allow me
to record the point star images of my
observations and imagination.
Instead I had to compromise with images of
star trails which to me
lacked depth and authenticity.
Nearly a quarter of a century then
passed before the advent of digital
photography made short exposure
stellar photography realistic at last.
This meant I could have my
point stars – no star trails if I didn't want
them anymore! I
began to dream again about the type of images
I should have made at Charterhouse if
digital had been available back then.
I kept thinking
how wonderful it would be to revisit the
school now, as an adult, and
to produce a few night images with the sense
of place I remembered. To my delight I
was given the necessary permission to return.
photographed the school during the Christmas
holidays, partly to
ensure long hours of darkness, partly so as
not to disturb any
current pupils, and also if I am honest - to
temporary relative emptiness of the site to
create a fragile but
satisfying illusion that it all belonged to me
again. In a way I
had come home.
I show here only 10 images in total, a
mere outline of my feelings about this amazing
night place, brief
but infinitely precious to me.
I am very grateful to the Headmaster,
The Reverend John Witheridge, for generously
giving me permission to
return for this project, and also to the
Charterhouse Security Department, for their
support during my evenings at the school.