Friday, October 17, 2008

Laon Cathedral, France (part 2)

There are several things I enjoy when visiting cathedrals. First, I enjoy observing how the cathedral comes into view as I approach, both as a modern pilgrim and as a tourist. What catches my attention, how does the monumental edifice fit into its surroundings (which have changed considerably over the centuries). Then I slowly amble along one side of the building, taking in its incredible size and the care with which it has been constructed. As I enter the cathedral, I like to be aware of changes in light, the new smells, new sounds as quiet visitors or worshipers walk in the resonant nave. And I like to stop to think, admire, pray and give thanks that such a wonderful place exists and that people still work to keep the cathedral life vibrant and the building sound.

Sometimes it is nice to include an unknown person in a photograph, but generally I find a shot I want to take, determine the lighting, and then wait (and wait and wait) until nobody is in view. Sometimes this can take ten minutes, during which the light invariably changes, shifting as the sun moves. I also like to look through arches, doorways, through the frames the cathedral offers us century after century, but we usually rush by, unheeding. There are also the nooks and crannies, the less-noticed details which, as in any building, tell you something about the care with which things have been made. [You can also visit my earlier posting, Laon Cathedral, France (part 1).]