8 June 2022


Whispers within the walls.

I start my day at the medieval bridge over the river Windrush at Burford.

It’s an idyllic scene of golden cotswold stone over a meandering river. From there I visit St. John the Baptist in Burford. I’ve photographed this church on numerous occasions. It’s a church that sits besides the Windrush at the bottom of the village. As soon as I enter, I see the graffiti. The marks are barely visible - masked by the washing of time, or hidden within the shadow of a hood-mould.

I’m fascinated by the stuff. Etched within and without the officious walls of our churches are the whispers of ordinary people that found a way of making their mark without others seeing. For me, these marks say “We are here, we matter, our feelings and beliefs matter.

Take away the massing, the stones, the roof slates and the lead at St. John’s and imagine only the marks left behind. There would be, in front of us, a vast matrix - a scatter pattern of words and deeds and symbols that articulated a belief or admonished a fear. There’s so many here in Burford that they soften the liturgical straight jacket cast in rood and quire.

Many of these marks remain hidden - unseen for centuries.

Photographing them seems like an act of releasing the memory.

View next entry:

A Year in the life: 26 June 2022
Stonehenge is just one element in a larger web of places that live beyond their physical presence. Think of Glastonbury Tor, The Shambles, York and Sutton Hoo.

More about this Digest:

From Breakdown to New Vocation: My Genius Loci Digest Journey
In the late 1990’s I had a breakdown that ultimately led me, through a journey that took me away from depression, to a new career in photography. But what was the spark that ignited my journey?

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