Wells Cathedral, Across the West End of Nave

Object Details


Wells Cathedral, Across the West End of Nave


Frederick H. Evans (British, 1853 - 1943)




1890 - 1903


Platinum print


14.9 x 10.5 cm (5 7/8 x 4 1/8 in.)

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[T]ry for a record of an emotion rather than a piece of topography. Wait till the building makes you feel intensely.... Try and try again, until you find that your print shall give not only yourself, but others who have not known your intimate knowledge of the original, some measure of the feeling it originally inspired in you.... This will be 'cathedral picturemaking,' something beyond mere photography....

Thus Frederick Evans passionately explained his approach to picture-making. The whole of the soaring interior of Wells Cathedral could not be contained within the frame. The verticality of the space is emphasized throughout, but the piers in the foreground especially shoot up from the floor with such force that they become abstractions, thick lines brushed in rather than solid forms in a three-dimensional space. The soft tonality of the platinum print that Evans preferred shades the contours of the space, and the even illumination throughout flattens the plane of focus, diminishing the viewer's perception of depth so that the space appears compressed.

A Record of Emotion: The Photographs of Frederick H. Evans (February 2, 2010 to February 20, 2011) (64)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 2 to June 6, 2010