14 February 2019, The Tablet

When one becomes two


When one becomes two
 

Paul Preece: Cloisters
The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford

When Paul Preece started working with a bellows camera – one of those big, Victorian-style contraptions with an accordion-like hood – he thought it would be well suited to the creation of striking landscape shots. Based at the time in Spain, he’d spend hours setting up the easel and camera – only to have his efforts, far too often, marred by a change in the weather conditions.

He did, though, love the art form produced by the camera, and visiting a monastery in Galicia one day, it came magnificently into its own. Struck by the symmetry of the cloisters, Preece photographed a near-perfect shot in which the two aisles of columns, arches and reflective sunlight retract graciously and gradually, like a visual fanfare for the apostles-and-Christ sculpture in the wall in the very centre of the picture.

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