I’ve always had it in my mind
that with the deliberate pre-ordination of light, and its movement over time, it might be used to fashion photographs as a sculptor might fashion a piece of clay into a work of art.
In the little town of Beverley in Yorkshire, I had been trying to do this for over 10 years by using an app to calculate and delineate the exact location where the sun might rise over the Minster.
On a promising morning in 2017 I set out from the town centre to reach Westwood Common, and with the Minster silhouetted behind me, I remembered the other occasions over the years I had tried and failed. On some I’d had my Dad with me - but even he had not survived the long journey - having died of prostate cancer in 2008.
Upon reaching the common and looking down the road I quelled my expectations. All too often had I been in this situation before but to be stoppered by a fog bank, or fast moving clouds from the east.
I set out along the Common to where my app had told me was the best vantage point, and caught a shot of the Minster in the distance beyond a fog bank and beneath the stratosphere.
As the burgeoning light defined the edge of the horizon, I felt like a conductor before the natural light orchestra - the pause on my podium before the movement began - was represented with the checking of my camera’s settings.
Then, as my face warmed to the glow of the horizon - it happened: a cuticle sun - and the birth of a new day...
I wanted to catch the sun crowning the Minster and my positioning was slightly out, so - like John Donne before me - I moved that great unruly orb by walking several metres to the north and found my nirvana.
Back in the present I had managed to sculpt the scene before me - the Minster permeated by the sun behind, set out like a giant Gothic cheese-grater - captured and caged with pre-ordained intent.
During the final minutes of dawn, as the sun dissipated into the great blue, and with the scene finally pocketed within my camera, I felt an unravelling, a need to let go and I found myself crying uncontrollably - partly for what I’d achieved over time, but mostly for what I had lost.