Welcome, and thanks for coming along!

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.

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'Full to the brim of the wondrous past, I felt the wondrous present.'

Richard Jefferies.


I’m feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment. I usually feel this way at the time of year when seasons herald change. At times like this, I seek out places that momentarily take me away from this earth; places that lift me up among the lives of those who came before me: the people and the plain song, and in particular, a man and his bellowed camera.

Like Alice through the looking glass, I was first mesmerised by the steps that lead to the Chapter House at Wells Cathedral through another photographers’ lens.

Frederick H. Evans: Image courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Artwww.lacma.org

Frederick H. Evans took a defining photograph of this place in 1903. It was to be a hundred years later that I stood in the same space, my lens like a divining rod, seeking out the runnels of his mind: his perspective, his viewpoint.

It was Evans who first called this place a sea of steps. In England's cathedrals, he sought out beauty rather than the past, and he called them 'poems in stone'

Andy Marshall

I don't think I've come across another place that captures so evocatively the memory of the past within the fabric. Here the past is persistent. It hides within the fabric and then, when you least expect it, presses its grubby nose right up against the present, illuminated by the presence of absence, lingering in the hollow of a step.

This is a liminal place where boundaries dissolve between the sharpness of the present and the blur of the past. This is a place of transience and yet permanence, a space of solidity that invokes fluidity. It is a 'new world within the known world.'*

Andy Marshall

Nothing better communicates the flow of time than a place that has faithfully carried the passage of people for centuries. And nothing evokes the temporal as when the participant is passing through time themselves, progressing up the steps that dissolve into metaphor: stepping from the depths to the heights, moving into a place of prospect and refuge, a portal to the heavens - ascension.

Prospect and Refuge: Wells Cathedral Chapter House. Andy Marshall.

For a moment, the silence here is broken by a group of visitors. They walk through the threshold and catch my eye. There is a correspondence of awe and wonder; intangible, inexplicable, unmeasurable.

The people ascending these steps awaken me to the notion that this place has a voice. It is an auditory realm that echoes the footsteps that have weathered these stones. I close my eyes and the stairs start to speak: they tell of the people that pass - the sporadic patter of children juxtaposed with the deliberate pace of their parents; and in between, the intermittent pauses marking the steady ascent of an elderly gentleman.

Andy Marshall

Evans taught me to capture a record of emotion, but also, through his lens, I discovered the power of place. Just a few minutes in this space has dissipated my anxiety. I feel as though I’m part of something bigger than myself, with an undeniable and overwhelming sense of connection to others — to those of the past, and perhaps more importantly, in a world that can be so divisive, to those who pass alongside me here in the present.

Andy Marshall

*Alan McGlashlan, The Savage and Beautiful Country

"Evans taught me to capture a record of emotion, but also, through his lens, I discovered the power of place."

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Getting There

The steps and the chapter house are normally open to the public. There is a fee to access the cathedral, other than during services.

I always struggle with parking in Wells (the height of the van limits me). I have used South Street Car Park in the past (but get there early).

I thoroughly recommend that you visit first thing when things are a little quieter.

'The beautiful curve of the steps on the right as they rise to the height of the Chapter House floor, is for all the world like the surge of a great wave that will presently break and subside into smaller ones. '

Frederick H. Evans.

Evans by kasebier

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. 📸🏛🚐

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