Camper-Van-Camino Edition

I'm an architectural photographer. I travel around Britain interacting with special places. I work from my camper van called Woody and I share my experiences via this digest.

⚡️ View the latest digest and the full archive here.

📐 My Goals.

York Minster


🎉 The above York Genius Loci hi-res file is available free as a digital print for Members:

Free York Genius Loci Hi-Res Digital Print for Members
Free to Members - York Genius Loci - hi res digital print.


“There are places, just as there are people and objects and works of art, whose relationship of parts creates a mystery, an enchantment, which cannot be analysed.”

Paul Nash


York Minster

Welcome to my camper-van camino edition!

I spent two wonderful days of photography this week in York in collaboration with the peeps at York Minster.

Here you can follow my journey of discovery.

Look out for the fox that foxed the seagulls, the door to rival Van Gogh's Starry Night and the stone carving that depicts the end of the world - all amidst the angelic interlude of golden light streaming through the south transept.

Photo: Joe Priestley

I've visited York Minster many times before - but, this time, through the lens, my eyes have been opened.

Palm Sunday - 24 March 2024

0530: Arrived at the minster. The Minster Police have given me access to Dean’s Park for photography. I'm hoping to get the drone up to capture the sunrise over the minster.

Just waiting for the sunrise. It rises directly to the east of the minster today. I'm a little concerned at a raucous flock of gulls at the west end of the minster - I might not be able to get the drone up if they stick around. I've had problems like this before.

My seagull anxiety dissipates when a fox trots around the west end of the minster - and draws the gulls away. Clever manoeuvre. Completely unexpected.


Patience pays off - managed to get a brief glimpse of the sun before it disappeared behind a bank of cloud.

0700: Woody gets to park in some amazing places on my camper-van-camino. The van is cosseted by the C13th chapter house. Feel settled now that I got the earlier shot. Waiting to get a shot of the east end in the sun but a bank of cloud is thwarting my efforts again. Maybe a little later.

Mashed bananas for energy

During breakfast - the sun comes out - and I move into action. I want to get one of my favourite perspectives of the minster - one with the Treasurer's House in the foreground. This is the heart of York - a great city that was a capital all of its own. Beneath the great minster lies its origins in the form of a Roman Basilica.

The Treasurer's House

The Treasurer's House holds a special place in my heart - visited it often early in my career and sketched it many times. It was here, in the first building on this site, that York Minster's treasures were housed. Here's a couple of my sketches:

0820: After breakfast in the van I take a walk around the minster and come across the statue to Constantine the Great - who was lauded as Roman Emperor in York in AD306 by his army.

I'm struck by a compositon that takes in the hand and the great minster behind.

It is the humble hand where all this starts - from the first stone laid at the Roman basilica that lies beneath, through to the final carving of the pinnacles that pin down the grandeur of the Gothic church. This is a story about people.

1030: My job first thing is to photograph the Palm Sunday procession. They have donkeys! They walked the donkeys all the way through the Minster.

Photo: Rosalind Kelly

1230: We planned on getting in early at 0530 tomorrow to light up some incense and capture the atmosphere at the Minster, but the forecast is poor - so I ask if it’s possible to do it today - and they said yes! We lit up the incense before it was open to the public and some magical moments started to happen.

We asked the thurifer, Sammi, to hold the thurible and the various elements of the scene came together beautifully in this final image:

Thanks to Sammi

I finish inside the minster and think through the remarkable things that I've witnessed today. I've seen this wonderful building in its 'flowstate' - full of people inside and out. Everybody, all faiths and none, has a deep reverence for this place, partaking in the spirituality, the splendour and the spectacle.

Monday - 24 March 2024

It's an early start again - I've been lodging in the van at Rowntree Park and I have to put the van back together again before I head over for the Minster for a start at 0530.

In case you're new here - here's the camper-van change over filmed last year:


0630: Inside the minster I'm tasked with photographing the chapter house. I walk around to the entrance and peep inside this marvel of Gothic architecture.

The light is low, and as I look through the portal up towards the vaulting I see dragons. At the top of the open door that leads into the chapter house is the upward thrusting head of a dragon.

I get my lights out and angle them to the side of the door. Instinctively I place them directly to the side of the door. I stand back and look up and I'm taken aback completely.

The 13th century door is full of life - like the life of the church - in its own flowstate, spiralling upwards with cusping and floral end-stops. I get the sense that this door is orchestrating my every move as my eyes follow the pattern onwards and upwards, until - there it is - the dragon: head turned upwards, like an outlet, as if needed to expunge my awe and wonder.

It's a a piece of art that has the spectacle of Van Gogh's Starry Night - breathtaking in its rendition, full of telling and narrative. This place is illustrated like a book, there is intent behind each swag and swirl.

0721: From the energy and excitement of the chapter house door I move over into the silence and reverence of a space that is at the heart of the minster. The Romanesque crypt holds the coffin of St. William, York's patron saint. I set to work in the candle light trying to capture the organic nature of the vaulting.

The thick set scalloped capitals give the place a sense of rootedness. There's a softness and gentleness to the space that holds an intimacy that is calming. It has a Turneresque feel to it - the light particulate.

My final shot is of the font with the curlicue cover (a delight all in itself) - and it's a doozer - 15 seconds exposure. Whilst I'm waiting - I look around to the south side and see something that shocks me so much that I step back and hit the tripod and camera mid-exposure with my foot.

I check the shot on the screen of my camera and my shock has been transformed into arcs of light. It's as if the candles have been released from the sconce and had a joyful moment of freedom. I shall call this image: 'The Moment I Saw the York Doomstone.'

The Moment I Saw The York Doomstone

I then look back at the artefact that took me by surprise. Its silvered patina is the antitheses to the golden glow of the candle light. I get my lights and light it up in the same way that I did with the chapter house door.

I've seen depictions of the jaws of hell in doom paintings, like at St. Thomas Salisbury:

But this sculpture is primal, visceral and simply horrifying - as intended. It moves like quicksilver.

From the mesmerising Van Gogh spirals of the chapter house door, through to the intimacy of the Turneresque crypt and then onto the electrifying Hieronymous Bosch style carving of York Minster's Romanesque doomstone.

This place isn't just a bucket list item - it's a rollercoaster ride of emotions - a complex palimpsest of remote grandeur and intimate proximity - a cultural and spiritual hub full of connections that help us understand the human condition.

1116: My final task is to photograph the mason's loft. This is, perhaps, one of the best kept secrets of York Minster. Beneath the C13th medieval scissor-braced timbers is the original gypsum tracing floor - still with the marks that the masons made when designing the tracery windows of the minster.

The marks are made from templates which still survive in the loft, hanging from rails like bats in a bell tower .

Whilst photographing them, I notice some writing through the viewfinder. The writing is full of telling - late Georgian, Regency: a font that pulls up associations with Jane Austen and the Bronte's, but more importantly, something that has been inscribed by the human hand.

I'm taken back to the designs on the tracery floor - those too etched by the hands of our forebears - the human spirit, of which, shines through in this wonderful building.

End Point.

This has been a wonderful two days, full of insights into the life of the minster and the remarkably diverse community that it serves.

Photo: Joe Priestley

Add to this the dimension of time: from the hand of Constantine the Great through to the hands of the humble Mason, caught in an accidental memorial on the template in the tracery loft.

With thanks to the Dean and Chapter of York Minster.

Can you help support my work and keep Woody on the road?

Memberships from £2 per month - lots of juicy benefits - thank you.

Explore Membership



Visit York Minster

York Minster

Hidden Minster Tours

York Minster


I took a short video from the drone that takes in my favourite view of York Minster.



More free stuff for Members

free stuff - Andy Marshall’s Genius Loci Digest
Free downloads for members only
Members’ Area
Members only content
Member Powered Photography Status Page
In essence I’m offering my professional services for free to historic locations in Britain.

Recent Digest Sponsors:

Digest Membership Sponsor: Leisuredrive Campervans Ltd.
Established in 1969, we are the UK’s longest standing independent campervan company.


The lovely team at York Minster.

Emma, Me, Joe, Peter, Ros

Thanks to Joe Priestley for continuing a thread that we started at Ripon; to Ros Kelly for being an insightful and intuitive host; to Emma Fageance for her deep rooted knowledge and also for listening to me ramble on; and Peter Li for sharing his creative inspiration.

Peter Li

Peter working his magic inside York's Chapter House

Stoked to have had the opportunity to work alongside Peter Li. His work is transcendental.

‘Amphisbaena’Musei Vaticani

I caught up with Pete after visiting York Minster, and he told me how his work is a dialogue with his childhood whilst growing up in 80's Hong Kong.

If you don't follow him on Insta - you should @pli.panda [link to his profile below]:

Login • Instagram
Welcome back to Instagram. Sign in to check out what your friends, family & interests have been capturing & sharing around the world.

It isn't very often I get the opportunity to work with photographer's of Peter Li's stature and influence so I ask permission to take a selfie with him. Peter says yes, and so, wanting to get this right, I summon up a lifetime of photographic experience and prowess and take the shot.

What a knob.

I put my heart and soul into the Genius Loci Digest and it takes a day a week to produce. With your support, I’m able to keep this digest free and public facing. 📸🏛🚐

Become a Member

Help keep Woody on the road..

Explore the benefits here

Gift a Membership

Gifting Memberships are another way to support my work.

More information here

More information here

Thank You!

Photographs and words by Andy Marshall (unless otherwise stated). Most photographs are taken with Iphone 14 Pro and DJI Mini 3 Pro.