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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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📐 My Goals.

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YHA Beverley.


“Over the years, one comes to measure a place, too, not just for the beauty it may give, the balminess of its breezes, the insouciance and relaxation it encourages, the sublime pleasures it offers, but for what it teaches. The way in which it alters our perception of the human."
Barry Lopez, About This Life


The Sketch.

'Thinking with images is my process in art. I believe that somewhere within me, the image has formed and is waiting to speak out.'

Sunkyung Cho (From Illustrator's Sketch Books by Martin Salisbury)

It’s one of those groggy days as I drive down the M5, heading to an overnight stay at Longleat. Should I detour to the Saxon church at Bradford on Avon?

With the weather so dismal, I hesitate, thinking it would be best to see it in its prime. But as soon as I reach the bridge at Bradford, my mind changes. I pull over, reconfigure Waze, and realise it’s just a few minutes away. Parking the van proves tricky, but I finally find a spot about ten minutes from the church, leading me along a charming old packhorse route into the heart of town.

And there it is—the famous Saxon gable nested beautifully among the houses.

Despite the saturated skies, I head inside, eager to see the angels above the chancel arch. They remind me of those at Malmesbury and Lichfield, with a freshness and naivety that defy classical tradition.

I sit at the back of the nave, taking it all in, when suddenly, the light shifts. The walls transform from dank grey to pale ochre, the stones absorbing the burgeoning light from the windows. This light is magical—born from the clouds, filtered through vapour, emerging from the brooding darkness. The shadows nod towards beauty’s end.

Reaching for my camera, I pause, feeling something profound at play. This building is pure atmosphere. There's more to this place than what I can see. The intangible is made up of what this space represents, the people that have passed through it, the depth of its time on this earth.

I put the camera aside and, instead, I reach for my sketchbook, determined to snag the spirit of this place, to try and capture how it makes me feel. A record of emotion.

As I layer the sketch with colour, I become utterly absorbed in the space. It’s a feeling akin to hovering within the light. It feels as though the light is being drawn into my eyes, coursing through my arm, and flowing onto the page. This moment is charged with emotion, and I feel unalloyed bliss as both place and feeling start to emerge on the page.

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For me sketching started as an act of making sense of my environment and then as a way of understanding the typology of buildings and place.

But it soon became an integral part of my photography and of my life both contributing to my vocation and my wellbeing.

The skill and wisdom I gained from sketching has informed the way I take photographs.

Sometimes I’ve sketched a scene as a precursor to using the camera to bed me into the flow of the process of photography.

Other times I’ve used it to absorb a building, or to become sensitised to the nuance of a place.

My art and the art of others helped me find a new voice through the lens - one that was based upon the act of observation during sketching.

Put together my sketchbooks are fertile ground, they hold a smorgasbord of ideas. They are pointers to future places, photographs, ideas, articles, art. A deep well and resource to reflect upon.

Through life drawing classes I'm learning about the wondrous diversity of the human form and human connection.

I also sketch to dispel anxiety. In one sketchbook next to a watercolour of the Warper’s Trail I’ve written:
‘The practice of sketching out the old lane focused my mind and calmed my anxiety. My anxiety was washed out in the green wash and channelled out through the pencil lines…To know your place, to understand whereby it came about and what marked its hills and valley is truly to feel rooted in something.

When my dad was in the last few weeks of his life, I sat with him and found solace in the mundane act of sketching a bunch of pegs. Whilst I was sketching I remember the profound feeling of my grief being drawn through the veins in my arm and absorbed by the marks I was making on the page.

During happier times I sketched scenes from my holidays with Dad and it is in this sense that sketches are so powerful - that they become memory realms connecting instantly with the atmosphere of a place.

Then there's finding beauty in the everyday and the mundane.

And then there’s another aspect of sketching that enhances our observation. Susan Fagence Cooper sums it up best when describing John Ruskin’s art:

‘Being aware of how we see the world is intimately bound up with the other things that mattered to Ruskin: learning to draw; taking our time as we stop and look; working out the relationships between a building and the people who built it and used it; being aware of our small place in a vast, ancient world; being thankful but questioning the status quo; stretching ourselves to imagine how it might be. All these ways of being in the world are enhanced by looking more closely. ‘

Observing and engaging with art can be a powerful antidote to the challenges of our modern world, especially for our children, whose natural curiosity is often stifled by the pervasive presence of digital devices.

I haven't had any formal training, I make lots of mistakes, I just keep it loose and hope for the best; with my ultimate aim being to enjoy and connect with others.

✨ So, here's a challenge.

If I can do it, so can you - unleash your superpower - what will you sketch today? It might change your life.

Let me know how you get on. Send in your art and I'll showcase them here.




Join me over in Bury, Lancs with artist Lee Crocker for an urban sketching extravaganza. Look forward to seeing you.

Draw Your Place | The Met
This inspiring workshop will take you through urban sketching to get you inspired by your surroundings.

The Cultural Frontline - My Art and My Mental Health - BBC Sounds
We speak to creative minds about their mental health and their art


This time last year:

'I love drilling down from a complex construct of the past (such as a cathedral) to the patina on its walls which holds more complexity than the building itself. A universe in the particular.'

Andy Marshall’s Genius Loci Digest: 2 June 2023
I love drilling down from a complex construct of the past (such as a cathedral) to the patina on its walls which holds more complexity than the building itself. A universe in the particular.

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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.


'When I'm drawing, especially in a location or from life, often it feels like something is unlocked.'

Charlotte Ager

'Sketching is to watch thoughts coming out of a pencil, to make everything I want, to rediscover some childhood feelings, to create strange shapes and to lose myself in a forest of unknown lines.'

Beatrice Alemagna

'A sketchbook is a place to lose yourself, and to discover new worlds.'

Christopher Corr

'Drawings are communications with others and yourself. To make a record or express one's thoughts, about the commonplace, the overlooked...loved ones.'

Mark Entwisle.

'Who does not feel the pleasure if holding a notebook overflowing with drawings, with wavy pages, through which time has passed?'

Manuel Marsol

I put my art 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.